League top scorer and MVP Josef Martinez may have stolen the headlines in Atlanta’s 2018 MLS Cup win but if you don’t follow the league, you are unlikely to have heard of Miguel Almirón. Now that he’s on his way to the north-east, we give you our view on Almirón and his career so far…
The midfielder has been in terrific form for The Five Stripes this season, scoring 13 goals and laying on a further 11 assists. His role in Atlanta’s sensational year has not gone unnoticed with Newcastle keen admirers of the Paraguayan, reportedly making a £16 million bid for his services.
“Miguel is obviously the heartbeat of our team when he’s out there.”Jeff Larentowicz, a teammate of Almirón
Tearing up the MLS
The $8 million signing from Lanus in December 2016 certainly lived up to expectation in the MLS. A brace in his second game opened his account for the club. A hat-trick followed a week later for the Paraguayan against Houston Dynamo before another brace against New York City FC.
His 9 goals and 8 assists come the end of the season were instrumental in Atlanta’s 4th place finish, an impressive feat for the new franchise. This earned the midfielder several accolades including MLS Best XI and Newcomer of the Year.
Almiron built on his superb debut season with even better performances in 2018. His output increased to 24 goal contributions in the season, vital to Atlanta’s 2nd place finish in the Eastern Conference.
They eventually went on to claim the MLS Cup by beating Portland Timbers 2-0 in the final, adding to the Paraguayan’s trophy cabinet. The South American was named in the MLS Best XI for a second year running as well as the All-Star game.
Style of Play
The 5ft 9in Paraguayan is an exceptional dribbler which, coupled with his frightening pace, makes him a nightmare for defenders. A skilful attacking midfielder, Almirón’s burst of acceleration and fast footwork are a crucial part of his game.
He thrives when creating chances too, averaging 2.1 key passes per game last season. Alongside his ability as a playmaker, Almirón is a threat when given space outside of the box, with many of his goals last season coming from long range.
However, there have been question marks over the 24-year-old’s finishing, or rather lack of it. He is not afraid to test the keeper shown by his 3.8 shots per game, yet on occasions, Almiron is wasteful with chances in front of goal, something that doesn’t go under the radar in the harsh lights of the Premier League. The Atlanta midfielder is also very one footed, which could make him quite predictable against better defenders in better leagues.
Miguel Almirón is certainly an exciting player to watch on the ball. Arsenal reportedly agreed personal terms with him earlier in the year, but now it seems like the Magpies are the closest to securing his signature..
An increasing number of players from the MLS like Zack Steffen and Alphonso Davies are being signed by top European clubs. As a result, we hope a club signs the Paraguayan international in the coming days to truly test whether players succeeding in the MLS can cut in the top leagues
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