Newcastle United supporters have suffered for the majority of the January window in predictable and uneventful fashion, but the conclusion of the month seems to have thrown up a handful of welcome surprises.
Shortly before Newcastle kicked off against Manchester City last night, news broke that, at long last, the club are on the brink of breaking their long-standing transfer record. After putting a first minute goal behind them, the news seemed to galvanise the club as Rafa Benitez’s diligent side managed to turn the game on its head and clinch three vital points against the reigning champions at St James’ Park.
The euphoria of a thrilling victory continued into Wednesday morning, but the supporters attention has largely been focused on the imminent arrival of Almiron, who arrived in Newcastle today to complete the record-breaking deal.
Weeks of speculation appear to be finally coming to an end in a dramatic conclusion which few would have been brave enough to predict given Mike Ashley’s transfer history, but who exactly is Almiron?
Well, avid watchers of the MLS will eulogise about the Paraguay international’s exciting all-action approach in the number ten role, but his lack of experience in European football is a notable concern.
Indeed, South American football expert Tim Vickery delivered his verdict on Almiron while speaking to Sky Sports, hinting that the speed of English football may catch him by surprise in the early stages of his career on Tyneside.
“I think he’s got a lot to bring to the Premier League, he is going to have to sharpen up his decision making in the final third, especially as he’s moving to a football which is much more intense than in the MLS and in South America.”
Making the transition to life in the Premier League is seldom a seamless endeavour and Almiron is unlikely to be an exception to the rule.
As Vickery has alluded to, the 24-year-old will need time to adapt to his new environment and it would be unjustified for supporters to expect instant fireworks from their club-record signing.
After all, the pressure that naturally arrives with that tag has been bestowed upon his shoulders due to an anomalous set of circumstances: a club of Newcastle’s stature would typically have broken their record years before Almiron’s arrival if the club were not constrained by the manacles of an atypical owner, while his price-tag remains modest in the context of an extortionate modern economic climate.
The pressure is on for the imminent arrival to succeed at Newcastle, but can Almiron rise to the challenge?
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