Miguel Almirion is headed to Newcastle United after the English Premier League club and MLS champion Atlanta United finally agreed to a transfer fee for the dynamic 24-year-old Paraguayan, according to a report published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday.
The paper cited a person close to the player as its source. Newcastle had been after Almiron, who led Atlanta to an MLS Cup win last month in just its second season in the league, for some time. But its initial offer for the midfielder, reported as $20 million, was deemed insufficient by Five Stripes president Darren Eales, who said publicly that he valued Almiron at $30 million. It remains to be seen what figure the two sides eventually settled on.
It was reported as recently as Saturday that talks between the clubs had broken down. Almiron’s agent left England without a deal and had been shopping the ex-Lanus standout to teams in Italy’s Serie A, according to the Newcastle Chronicle.
In the end, it seems Newcastle and Spanish manager Rafa Benitez got their man. Benitez needs him. The Magpies have managed just 21 goals through their first 24 games and currently sit five points above the relegation zone. The club is home to another former MLS player in U.S. national teamer DeAndre Yedlin, who helped Newcastle win promotion to England’s top flight two years ago.
With Almiron’s departure, Atlanta is now in compliance with MLS rules that limit its teams to three high-earning “designated” players. United recently singed Argentine attacker Pity Martinez, widely seen as Almiron’s replacement, from South American champion River Plate. Ezequiel Barco and Josef Martinez are Atlanta’s two other DPs.
In his two years in Georgia’s capital, Almiron scored 21 goals and added 28 assists in 62 appearances. He was named to the leagues’s Best XI both seasons.
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