Newcastle United’s friendly against CSKA Moscow on Saturday represented new signing Miguel Almiron’s first real opportunity to show his new club what he could do.
Having made his debut against Wolves on Monday night during a brief cameo, excitement was high for a player who looked lively and eager from the outset.
Saturday’s outing didn’t quite live up to the billing, however, but that shouldn’t be a cause for concern for the Toon Army.
The Sun were damning in their tone of the 24-year-old’s display, leading with the headline: “ALMIR-OFF – Newcastle new-boy Miguel Almiron struggles on first start since £20.7m transfer”, and the tabloid really have gone over the top with this one.
At the end of the day, expectations are bound to be high for a player who has shattered the Magpies’ transfer record but a midseason friendly match is no barometer of what he can bring to the club.
More than anything else, the Paraguayan international on actually featured for 45 minutes in conditions that could probably be best described as “very very windy”.
This game was never going to be some kind of great announcement of Almiron’s arrival because it really amounted to nothing more than a glorified training session.
If he had produced a top drawer performance there would be plenty of pundits and supporters quick to remind people that it was a dead rubber organised to keep fitness levels up, and just because things have gone the other way, the playmaker shouldn’t be crucified for it.
Bigger and more appropriate challenges await.