Exclusive: Pundit blasts Rafa Benitez’s “big risk” NUFC signing, he was shocking again on Friday

November 9, 2020

Speaking exclusively to Football FanCast, Chris Kirkland has delivered his verdict on Newcastle flop Miguel Almiron.

After arriving in a then club-record deal from MLS side Atlanta United, the Magpies may have seen the Paraguay international as someone who could kick-start a new era at St James’ Park.

And with his tireless style of play, and willingness to put everything on the line, there was no question that he had endeared himself to the supporters early on.

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But a lack of end product has held him back big-time, with him managing just nine goals in 62 games across all competitions. A rather paltry return for someone who has predominantly played out wide or in an attacking midfield position.

Now, Kirkland has admitted that the man signed by Rafa Benitez has really struggled to life in England, and it’s a gamble that hasn’t quite paid off.

He said: “Well he’s struggled. He hasn’t adapted, has he? It’s a risk when you’re buying players from abroad. It is a big risk because they can be very good players but moving abroad, moving away from your family, bringing your family over, the different language, all of it has a massive effect.”

As if to prove Kirkland’s point, Almiron had yet another shocker against Southampton on Friday. Just a couple of weeks after his disaster against Wolves, the Paraguayan was similarly disappointing this time around at St Mary’s.

As per Sofascore, his 5.2 match rating was the worst of any player on the pitch, and it was easy to see why. He lost ten of his 14 total duels, had no shots whatsoever, completed just one of his six attempted dribbles, and also made an error that directly led to a Southampton goal.

All in all, it wasn’t a great outing, and it’s clear to see Almiron just hasn’t found his feet on Tyneside.

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