Miguel Almiron has signed off for the season by helping Atlanta lift the MLS Cup.
This is a cup competition which brings the best teams in the Western and Eastern conferences together to find a winner.
Atlanta finished runners-up in their Eastern Conference season but reached this MLS Cup final with a 3-1 aggregate semi-final win over New York Red Bulls.
Saturday night (early hours of Sunday morning UK time) saw 73,019 watch Miguel Almiron help his team to a 2-0 victory.
Goals and highlights below, as the 24 year old came close to giving his side the lead with a first half volley and supplied the cross which led to the second goal, finally killing off Portland Timbers with a 2-0 scoreline.
The final took place at the home of Atlanta, the Mercedes-Benz stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, with the fans wondering if this is the last they will see of Miguel Almiron with his much rumoured imminent move to the Premier League.
The Paraguyan playmaker scored 13 goals this season with 11 assists for Atlanta.
Since moving from Lanus to Atlanta for £7m in February 2017, Miguel Almiron has started 65 games (2 off the bench) and has scored 22 goals with 21 assists, involved in 43 goals altogether.
This week the Atlanta President rubbished claims (see below) that an initial loan deal with a £15m fee to be paid in the summer had been agreed with Newcastle.
Indeed, he said they wouldn’t consider any loan deal and any cash offer would have to be far higher for their prize asset, with a £25m fee widely rumoured to be the asking price.
Watch here the highlights of Almiron/Atlanta’s MLS Cup win, if you want to go to the key moments, you can see Almiron’s volley that is saved at 0.42, the opening goal by Martinez is at 1.01, with Almiron’s free-kick that helps create the second goal at 2.15.
Only a shade over three weeks now until the transfer window opens and Rafa Benitez will surely expect no messing about this time, the expectation being that Miguel Almiron or whoever else his transfer targets are, will be set up to come in very early in January to allow them to be involved as soon as possible.
The Mag – 6 December 2018:
This week has seen reports that a transfer had been agreed for Miguel Almiron to move to Newcastle United.
The English media reports claimed that NUFC representatives had been in Atlanta and agreed a deal, whereby the 24 year old would come to St James Park on loan with then £15m to be paid in the summer.
The newspapers didn’t make clear whether the £15m buying bit was a binding clause but they did say/claim that all that was now needed for the deal to happen was for Mike Ashley to give the go ahead.
It all seemed a little too good to be true, as in the past it has been reported that Atlanta had turned down offers of £15m, and with the player now having an even better season this year, which finally ends on Saturday (early hours Sunday UK time), his price will surely have gone up even further.
Indeed recent weeks saw reports in the States saying Miguel Almiron was valued at a figure of £25m minimum, as Atlanta’s star asset.
Stepping into the debate is Atlanta United President Darren Eales.
Sky Sports are covering the MLS Cup Final live (1am kick-off on Sunday – UK time) and they have spoken to Eales, who said:
“The important thing is we have an owner that is 100 per cent behind the team and wants the team to win, and we have a fan base, so we have always said that if the right approach comes in – and it has to be the right offer for the player, the league, and most importantly the club – then we would consider it.
“I have seen some laughable things in the press, clearly we are never going to loan one of our players out and we are certainly not going to let them go for the ‘chump change’ that I have seen in some reports.
“If it’s a proper, serious offer then it’s something we would consider, but not for the laughable figures that I have seen mentioned in the press.
“He has proved in these two years that he is by far and away one of the best players in the league.
“He is still a young player, he is a Paraguay international and it’s brilliant he can cope with the physicality of the Argentinian league with Lanus and also the MLS.
“He is an amazing player, he was one of the best players on the pitch in both of the All-Star games that we played against Juventus and Real Madrid.
“I have no doubt that when the time is right and the offer is right he can be a success in whatever league he goes to.”
Since moving from Lanus to Atlanta for £7m in February 2017, Miguel Almiron has started 64 games (2 off the bench) and has scored 22 goals with 21 assists, involved in 43 goals altogether.
With those kind of stats, I think safe to say he has increased in value by a lot more than £8m in these past two seasons.
Personally, I think Newcastle will have to pay at least £20m-£25m as a starting price, with potentially extra if he hits certain targets.
Since promotion to the Premier League, the most Mike Ashley has allowed Rafa to spend on a player is £10m…