Atlanta United President Darren Eales has backed Miguel Almiron to open the floodgates at Newcastle United once he scores his first goal for the Magpies.
Almiron has started 17 of his 18 appearances for the Toon since moving to St. James’ Park for a former club-record £21million (Guardian) in January, but is yet to open his account for goals or assists.
The Paraguay international has enjoyed plenty of opportunities to break his duct in Black and White, but has spurned each chance when presented with them, as the pressure of scoring his maiden Newcastle goal appears to be weighing him down.
In his eight league outings so far this term, the 25-year-old has amassed 11 shots in total, although he has only managed to direct two on target, while only creating three key chances in 664 minutes of top-flight action (WhoScored).
His efforts have only been enough for a shot every 60.4 minutes compared to 40.2 in his first ten appearances in the Premier League, when he also created a key chance every 58.7 minutes compared to this season’s 221.3 minutes per key pass.
But Atlanta President Eales is convinced that all it will take is a first goal to see Almiron rediscover the form which saw the midfielder hit 13 goals, 13 assists in 37 games on route to the MLS Cup title in 2018 (TransferMarkt).
“It took Migie a little bit of time to find his feet when he made the move from Paraguay to the Argentinian league, and the same with us in our first MLS season,” Eales said at the Leaders in Sport Summit, via quotes by the Daily Star.
“He was unbelievable, but he missed a few chances. He went eight games without scoring and had not scored at home, and you could feel it getting pent up a little bit. Then he scored a hat-trick against Houston where everything he hit went in. He got that hat-trick and the floodgates then opened.
“You see his glimpses of his ability. He showed it in the summer with Paraguay at the Copa America. His pace with the ball is incredible. I always likened it to Gareth Bale from my time at Spurs – he always seems quicker when he has got the ball than without the ball. It is about confidence.”
Almiron could certainly do with a confidence-boosting goal to see that he ends his barren run, but with Newcastle at the wrong end of the Premier League table, there is only so much longer Steve Bruce can continue with the Paraguayan in his starting line-up.
It may take Almiron dropping to the bench, where he can be introduced to proceedings when the opposition’s legs are getting weak, that he scores his first goal, as his current output arguably does not deserve to be rewarded with regular game time.
Christian Atsu had delivered in his first outings of the term when introduced against Tottenham Hotspur, with the Ghanaian playing three key passes against Spurs, Watford and Liverpool and assisted goals in North London and at Anfield (WhoScored).
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