Newcastle United sporting director Dan Ashworth was a busy man throughout the summer transfer window as he attempted to improve Eddie Howe’s squad.
The former Brighton chief brought in Alexander Isak, Sven Botman, Nick Pope and Matt Targett on permanent deals to bolster the manager’s options across the park.
However, the Magpies chief did not manage to recruit any players in the attacking midfield or wide areas despite targeting talent in those positions.
One player the club were reportedly interested in signing was Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby, who Graeme Bailey claimed was Newcastle’s number one attacking target.
Ashworth was unable to secure a deal for the France international as the attacker ultimately opted to remain in Germany to compete in the Bundesliga this season and the club did not bring in an alternative before the window slammed shut.
The Frenchman has gone on to score one goal and provide three assists in nine appearances for Leverkusen in the German top-flight this season, after producing an eye-catching 13 goals and 12 assists in the division last term.
Newcastle’s failure to sign a winger may have left supporters worrying about a potential lack of end product from the existing options in that area of the pitch.
However, Howe has worked his magic on the training pitch and has struck gold by unearthing the best of Almiron for Newcastle in the top-flight.
The difference in his form between last season and this campaign is night and day and a credit to him and Howe for the hard work that has seemingly gone on behind the scenes to extract the best out of the former MLS man on the pitch.
He has as many goal contributions (four) as Diaby in the same number of league matches (nine) so far this term and his transformation under Howe should be allaying any fears supporters had when the club failed to sign a winger in the summer.