BeIN Sports presenter Richard Keys has torn into Miguel Almiron in a scathing verdict of the Paraguayan, in which he questioned what the midfielder offers Newcastle United.
The 25-year-old is still awaiting his first goal or assist for the club, however, having failed to convert any of his 40 shots or see one of his 20 key passes turned home.
He has also struggled to score on the international scene, but Almiron brought an end to his goal drought for Paraguay in their friendly with Bulgaria last Thursday – his first international goal in what was his 23rd cap.
But one goal in 23 games, and none in 22 club appearances, has left Keys wondering why Rafa Benitez sought out Almiron’s signature last winter.
“What exactly was Benitez thinking when he paid that money to Atlanta United?” Keys noted in his personal blog. “I can’t think of one – can you?
“This verdict from ‘Whoscored.com’ on Almiron. Crossing – weak. Passing – weak. Finishing – weak.
“Almiron failed to score in 54 of his 68 MLS games. Five of his 22 goals were pens. It’s 1 in 21 for his national team. He’s quick, but other than that, what exactly does he do?
“[Steve] Bruce will be a genius if he gets something out of him, but I really do wish both well. No-one likes to see a player struggling.”
Is Keys fair in his verdict of Almiron?
Almiron came extremely close to ending his drought against Watford earlier in the season, but the perfect moment to send St. James’ Park into wild jubilation was not capitalised on, as Almiron stood stiff unmarked at the back post and failed to bring Christian Atsu’s cross under control.
That moment against the Hornets summed up Almiron’s efforts in front of goal for the club almost too perfectly, as he often gets himself into good positions to score before finding a way to let the chance go to waste.
Against Wolverhampton Wanderers last month, the Chronicle noted in their player ratings that Almiron went to pieces in the final third, on a day he offered a willing runner in attack. The same verdict was given for his efforts against Brighton & Hove Albion in September, as he spurned two good chances in both halves before being hauled off.
In the humbling loss to Leicester City, they also described his efforts in attack as our only real threat but conceded that he did not create enough. Plenty of evidence, then, to give pundits like Keys reason to tear into Almiron on every opportunity they get until he brings his goal drought in Black and White to an end.