Some of the best things in life just so happen to begin with the letter ‘A’.
- Band? Alterbridge
- Paraguayan footballer? Almiron
- Type of drink which sounds good at the time until you wake up and instantly become full of regret and embarrassment?…. Alcoholic
But that’s enough about my questionable choices in music and pursuit of a University social life, Newcastle United are going to finally break their transfer record. And it’s about fucking time.
With transfer deadline day on the horizon, the Magpies have all but confirmed the signing of Miguel Almiron from MLS Champions Atlanta United. With the rumoured fee being approximately £20m, Michael Owen’s much-maligned record fee of £15m from Real Madrid in Summer 2005 has finally been surpassed. Newcastle was the only club in the Premier League to have not broken their transfer record in the last 3 years, and the former Ballon d’Or Winner’s fee was the 3rd lowest of the 20 sides.
Almiron’s transfer to Tyneside is not the sole arrival expected to happen on deadline day. AS Monaco’s Italian full-back Antonio Barreca has joined on a loan to finally provide defensive coverage at LB opposite to DeAndre Yedlin. Furthermore, Greek defensive midfielder Andreas Samaris is also being pursued, though the recent fantastic performances of Sean Longstaff could damage the need for a new player in this role.
So where do I think these new prospects fit in Rafa Benitez’s starting 11? As of the 2-1 victory over Man City on 29/01/19, here’s how Newcastle lined up
- 12 Dubravka
- 22 Yedlin
- 5 Schar
- 6 Lascelles
- 20 Lejeune
- 11 Ritchie
- 17 Perez
- 14 Hayden
- 36 Longstaff
- 30 Atsu
- 9 Rondon
Rafa’s 5 at the back system has looked formidable, so Barreca could easily slot in at LWB in place of the versatile Matt Ritchie, who can move into his natural position as a winger.
Whilst Almiron is practically guaranteed a starting position, which will likely come at the expense of one of Atsu or Perez, as Benitez will switch to a 5212 or 5311 to meet Almiron’s central style of play. Almiron’s skill and dribbling ability when partnered with a Venezuelan striker in Josef Martinez is what won Atlanta the MLS Cup, expectations are high to whether he can replicate this fine form with another Venezuelan striker in Salomon Rondon.