The adaptation to the Premier League has historically been a difficult one, with players who have been top class elsewhere failing to make the grade in the English top flight.
However, there are others who recover from a tough start and go on to become some of the best in the top flight at their particular position. At the moment there is plenty of debate about which category Newcastle United playmaker Miguel Almiron will fall under.
“Almiron must start creating chances because he has been here long enough now. I love his enthusiasm, he runs around like a schoolboy but for £20million we need end product,” he told The Chronicle on Wednesday.
Not all of Lee’s comments about Almiron were negative, but he certainly laid the smackdown on the 25-year-old. He’s got a point about Almiron’s lack of end product, but his assertion that the winger has ‘been here long enough’ is surely out of order.
First of all, he’s had the coach who campaigned for months to bring him to England leave the club, to be replaced by someone who hasn’t exactly been associated with scintillating attacking football over the course of his career.
Secondly, he missed the back end of last season through injury, so we can’t simply say he’s had nine months in English football, because he’s not been fit and firing the whole time.
Plus, his start to the new campaign hasn’t been as bad as everybody seems to want to make out. When you consider the statistics, he is showing some positive signs.
He isn’t quite producing as well as fellow attacking midfielder Christian Atsu – who looks much improved – but he hasn’t been terrible. As per WhoScored.com, is having way more shots per game and is being fouled far more often than the Ghanian.
The latter is significant. The Paraguayan is rarely able to get into rhythm in games because the opposition are always so keen to bring him down. However, that’s a problem that all good players have, and he needs to find a solution to it.
He needs to up his key passes, and he’s curiously not embarking on dribbles as often as you’d expect for someone with his lightning speed. Meanwhile, he surely needs to be better in possession.
Overall, though, this simply seems to be a case of a player lacking confidence amid a tough transition to life in a new country. What he doesn’t need, then, is to be attacked by his team’s former greats.