Miguel Almiron has spent the past two seasons tearing MLS apart with Atlanta United, and now it would appear that he is firmly in the sights of Newcastle United. 

Unless you’re a keen follower of MLS, you would be forgiven for knowing nothing of Almiron. Don’t worry, though. We have you covered and can tell you everything you need to know about the Paraguayan international who has played a key role in MLS’s most potent attacking side this season.

Read on to find out more…

Who is Miguel Almiron? 

Miguel Almiron came through the ranks at Paraguayan Primera Division side Cerro Porteno, winning the 2013 Clausura and the 2015 Apertura across his 41 games for the club, before eventually being picked up by Argentine side, Lanus.

Despite winning three major honours during his time in Buenos Aires, Almiron never quite managed to cement his place in the starting XI and finally secured his move to Atlanta United in December 2016 for a reported £6.3m fee.

The 24-year-old’s form has been crucial in helping Atlanta finish fourth in the Eastern Conference table last season, before climbing to second this season and winning the Conference playoff against New York Red Bulls to go all the way to the MLS Cup final – Almiron picked up the 2017 MLS Newcomer of the Year award, as well as being named in the MLS All-star and MLS Best XIs of the past two seasons.

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The 12-time Paraguay international has scored 13 goals in 36 MLS games so far this season, with the MLS Cup final still to play, while he has also provided 11 assists up to now, more than any other Atlanta player.

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Teammate Josef Martinez credits Almiron for his red-hot form in front of goal this season which has seen him net an incredible 34 times in 38 games so far.

“Sometimes, maybe when I’m tired from training, I’ll just give them the short answer,” Martinez wrote in a tribute to Almiron in the Players Tribune. “I’ll look around the room for Miguel, point at him and say, ‘You see that guy? He’s why I’m so good.’”

What is Miguel Almiron’s playing style?

The left-footed Almiron is primarily a No.10, operating behind Martinez where he can draw centre-backs out of position and allow the Venezuelan forward to burst into the space that leaves. Almiron is brilliant and playing perfectly weighted through-balls, meaning his combination with Martinez is particularly potent.

However, it isn’t just in the assists department where Almiron thrives. He is also a lethal finisher and can easily exploit space himself just as much as he creates it.

One area where Almiron may struggle in the Premier League is his lack of physical strength, meaning that, although he does tackle well and contribute defensively, he is often outmuscled and compensates for this by playing for fouls – a trait that is particularly looked down on in England.

However, his pace and trickery are much-needed assets at Newcastle at the moment and mean he could even be deployed wide, leaving full-backs guessing whether he will cut inside into the half space and shoot or hit the byline and deliver a devastating cross to a physical striker, such as Salamon Rondon. After all, Almiron loves playing with a Venezuelan striker.

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Almiron’s commitment could make him a very valued weapon in the Rafa Benitez armoury, with teammate Chris McCann saying: “When you play with Miguel a lot of time you get to see the real Miguel, which is, he runs here, there, and everywhere. He chases back after every single ball, he fights for every single ball.”

Which clubs want to sign Miguel Almiron?

With the kind of season Almiron has had with Atlanta United, Almiron is understandably attracting quite a lot of attention.

Newcastle United, however, are comfortably the favourites for his signature in the January transfer window, by which time Almiron’s MLS season will be done and dusted. A transfer deal is, according to the Mirror, already in place and Benitez is awaiting a sign-off from his employers.

However, the Spanish manager remains coy over any speculation and is refusing to be drawn on questions regarding his transfer window plans.

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

When pressed on reports suggesting an agreement may be close, Benitez told reporters: “If I don’t know – I don’t think so.”

However, when asked if he liked Almiron as a player, Benitez grinned and remarked: “Say again? Which one? I can’t hear you properly.

“You know I don’t like to talk about players. Not now. Now is the time to enjoy a performance like this from THIS group of players.”

It would appear that Almiron’s departure from Atlanta has been set for some time now, with club owner Darren Eales saying back in October: “Almiron’s future is already decided and [he] will go to England in the European winter market.”

Those words came at a time when most reports suggested Arsenal would be going in for Almiron, although such talk seems to have cooled in recent months. It would be difficult to see Almiron getting into Arsenal’s starting XI ahead of the likes of Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alex Iwobi, while Newcastle are desperately short in the creative department; the Magpies have scored the third-fewest goals (12) and had the third-fewest shots (167) in the Premier League so far this season.

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He has a lot to work on in the physicality department, but Miguel Almiron is an immensely gifted technician and a name we could see making headlines in the Premier League for some years to come.

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