It was a difficult day at the office for Newcastle United on Sunday.
The Magpies travelled to the Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal, a side with whom they were level on points with going in to the match. However, in the end, they were hammered 4-0 Mikel Arteta’s men.
With SofaScore ratings of 7.4 and 7.3 respectively, Allan Saint-Maximin and Joelinton did their bit in their attempts to give Steve Bruce some attacking threat, but Miguel Almiron struggled to have any kind of impact.
On the right of a four in midfield, the 20-time Paraguay international’s contribution was limited.
He managed just one key pass and completed only 50% of the four dribbles he attempted. Playing on the right flank, and with Joelinton in the middle, he failed to even attempt a single cross, therefore meaning his side were unable to make real use of the former Hoffenheim man’s aerial ability – he has won 5.6 battles in the air per league game this term.
Since Rafa Benitez brought him to St. James’ Park, the 26-year-old has been primarily used on the flank, but he is far better in a more central role. In 2018 at Atlanta United in the MLS, he scored 11 goals and provided 11 assists from attacking midfield. Yet on the right for the Toon, he has managed just one assist in 18 matches according to Transfermarkt – although he has one strike in three games in a number 10 role.
Newcastle were scouting Said Benrahma, who has excelled at Brentford in the Championship, earlier this month with the Magpies eager on bolstering their forward line.
In 29 games in the second tier this season, he has nine goals and six assists – he is a natural on the flank. He has averaged 2.3 key passes and 3.2 dribbles per match, as well as one successful cross a game – he is miles clear of Almiron in all of those areas.
Clearly, he is far better suited to playing wide than Almiron – but Steve Bruce has very few options on the flank as it stands. Bringing in Benrahma, who the Bees are set to ask £30m for, would solve a huge problem for the former Sheffield Wednesday manager.
The Algeria international could slot in on the right, allowing Almiron to move more central and have a big impact on the game. Based on this showing, it is something Bruce is desperate for.