There has arguably been no Premier League player more dispiriting to watch this season than Newcastle United playmaker Miguel Almiron.
The Paraguay international is the second most expensive player in the club’s history, yet he has performed like a free transfer at best. Despite that, head coach Steve Bruce refuses to give him a rest from the starting line-up. He may feel he’s keeping faith with the 25-year-old, but there comes a point of diminishing returns.
After Monday’s lifeless 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa, during which Almiron offered up next to nothing, the time has surely come for Almiron to be given a chance to reset.
However, that doesn’t mean that we aren’t all pulling for the former Atlanta United man. Ex England international Darren Bent certainly is.
The Sky Sports pundit told Football Insider on Tuesday that: “I think the unluckiest player at the club goes to Almiron. I am so desperate for him to score because I really believe him and [Allan] Saint-Maximin give them the edge.”
Bent is surely saying what every Newcastle fan is thinking, there. Almiron just can’t seem to score – no matter what he does. That was proven a few weeks ago against West Ham United when Saint-Maximin inadvertently blocked his clearly goal-bound effort.
The statistics from Monday’s defeat at Villa Park, though, don’t make for pretty reading. As per WhoScored.com, Almiron managed one shot – off target – two key passes (which is positive), but he had three unsuccessful touches.
Giving away possession has been a real bug-bear for the South American this campaign, and is something he needs to start improving fast. But the fact that he, as a creative winger, produced no successful dribbles, no crosses and no long balls forward, shows you that he is desperately short on confidence.
As Bent says, we’re all desperate for him to finally find the back of the net. At the moment, though, that prospect looks a long way away from being realised.