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Newcastle United might just end up saving their season and spark a late resurgence by signing this 25-year-old MLS superstar

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Miguel Almiron

Newcastle United should sign Miguel Almiron to save their season

According to a report by Chronicle Live, Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez is keen to add Atlanta United attacking midfielder Miguel Almiron in the current transfer window. The 25-year-old Paraguayan international has fetched a lot of interest from Premier League clubs like Arsenal, Tottenham, and West Ham as well.

The financial crisis at Newcastle is well known and there have been rumours about a possible takeover as well. Regardless, Benitez has been a frustrated figure throughout this season. Newcastle are far from being completely safe and given the lack of quality in the squad, Rafa needs an attacking midfielder and a striker at least for the rest of the season.

Paraguayan international Almiron scored 12 goals and provided 14 assists last season and helped Atlanta United win the MLS for the first time. Almiron is highly rated at the club and has proven his worth in the bygone season.

Almiron is the type of attacking midfielder who would run 60 yards to track back if required and his abilities from set-pieces are extraordinary. He can prove to be a masterstroke signing for Newcastle, given his ability to score goals from the midfield. As a result, he could ease some pressure off Salmon Rondon.

Miguel Almiron

All of the groundwork has been laid for this deal; Newcastle United’s scouting department has watched him quite a few times, while Atlanta United, the player and his representatives have all made their desired terms abundantly clear (h/t Chronicle Live).

Now, it remains to be seen whether or not Mike Ashley would allow such deal to take place given the uncertainty of his future at the club. 

One thing is for sure – if Newcastle United want to avoid their third relegation in 8 years, they should reinforce their thin squad. They lack quality up front and with the important part of the season ahead, it would be a tough ask to maintain their Premier League status.

A player of Almiron’s ability could prove to be a saviour for Newcastle and their chances of preserving their top-flight status. 

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Aston Villa

Top 5 expensive Belgian imports to the Premier League – a rundown of their performances

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Top 5 expensive Belgian imports to the Premier League

Aston Villa’s spending spree this summer has grabbed the headlines in the British tabloids.

Manager Dean Smith has already shelled out a lot of money to bring as many as ten new players so far, and with just a week remaining before the transfer deadline, it won’t be surprising to see Villa bag a couple of more scalps in the market.

Apart from ironing out permanent deals for last season’s loanees Tyrone Mings, Kortney Hause and Anwar El Ghazi, Villa have also splashed the cash to bring in the likes of Wesley Moraes, Matt Targett, Jota, Trezeguet, Ezri Konsa, Bjorn Engels and Douglas Luiz as a part of their massive squad overhaul this summer.

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Interestingly, it is the towering Brazilian centre-forward Wesley Moraes who has arrived at Villa Park in a club-record £22million deal from Belgian heavyweights Club Brugge, making him the most expensive Belgian import ever in the Premier League. 

Looking at the past records, Aston Villa have every reason to be confident of Wesley’s ability to make the step up to the Premier League because this is not the first time that Villa have raided the Belgian market for a centre-forward, having enjoyed resounding success with the transfer of Christian Benteke from KRC Genk back in the 2012-13 season.  

Besides the other elite leagues in Europe, the Belgian top-flight, despite not being regarded as a highly competitive ground, has emerged as one of the most reliable markets for the Premier League clubs over the years.

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Starting from Romelu Lukaku, Benteke and Aleksandar Mitrovic to the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Thibaut Courtois, Wilfred Ndidi and, most recently, Leander Dendoncker, there have been numerous success stories of players acclimatising brilliantly to the Premier League after arriving from Belgian clubs. 

Apart from Aston Villa, the likes of Brighton and Hove Albion and Southampton have also completed big-money raids on the Belgian market this summer to bring in Leandro Trossard and Moussa Djenepo, which further underpins the fact that the English clubs are not reluctant to show confidence in the Belgian league players.

While players arriving in the Premier League from the lower leagues in Europe are still viewed with suspicion by the English fans, it is worth mentioning here that a big number of the Belgian imports in the English top-flight have done their reputation no harm.

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It is definitely worth taking a look at some of the most expensive Belgian imports to the Premier League and how they have fared over the years.

Note: Only the initial sign-on amount in each case is taken into account and the values mentioned below do not include add-ons or performance-related bonuses.

Here are the 5 most expensive players to arrive in the Premier League from the Belgian market:

1. Jose Izquierdo – £13.5million

The diminutive Colombian winger rose to prominence in Europe during his three-year spell at Club Brugge in Belgium, where he carved out a real reputation for himself with his pace, breathtaking solo runs down the flanks and a terrific eye for goal. 

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The left-winger plundered 38 goals and 19 assists in 117 appearances for Brugge in all competitions, winning the Belgian Cup and the Belgian Pro League, whilst also impressing in the Europa League and the Champions League.

Izquierdo’s heroics in Belgium earned him a £13.5millionmove to the south coast of England with Brighton and Hove Albion in the summer of 2017 and the 27-year-old enjoyed a decent first season at the Amex Stadium, registering 5 goals and 3 assists in the Premier League. 

However, the Colombian fell out of favour in his second season under Chris Hughton and managed only 9 starts in the league. Now, it remains to be seen whether new manager Graham Potter has him in his plans for the upcoming campaign. 

2. Aleksandar Mitrovic – £13million

The towering Serbian centre-forward was one of the best emerging talents in Europe when Newcastle United splashed out £13million to sign him as a 20-year-old from Anderlecht in the summer of 2015.

Prior to his move to England, Mitrovic had already won the Serbian title with his boyhood club Partizan Belgrade and the Belgian Pro League in his debut campaign at Anderlecht.

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A strike rate of 44 goals in 90 appearances was apparently enough to convince Newcastle of Mitrovic’s talent and the Serb showed strong signs of promise in his debut season in the Premier League, although his 9 goals in the 2015-16 season weren’t enough to prevent relegation.

Despite Newcastle’s relegation to the Championship, Mitrovic stayed at St.James’ Park with a view to guiding the Magpies back to the top-flight at the first time of asking.

However, a drastic dip in form in the 2016-17 season saw the Serb find the net on only 4 occasions in 25 league appearances in the second-tier, although Benitez’s side did manage to secure promotion, courtesy of Dwight Gayle’s free-scoring form.

Mitrovic struggled in the 2017-18 season in the Premier League before resurrecting his career on loan at Fulham in the Championship, scoring 12 in 20 games in the second half of the 2017-18 season to propel the Cottagers to the top-flight. 

His promotion-winning heroics earned him a permanent deal at Craven Cottage and Mitrovic impressed with 11 goals in Fulham’s 2018-19 Premier League campaign, which ultimately ended in relegation.

3. Wilfred Ndidi – £15million

The tough-tackling and all-action central defensive midfielder made his professional debut for Genk back in the 2014-15 season and his resounding success in the Belgian top-flight over the next couple of seasons paved the way for a £15millionmove to Leicester City in January 2017. 

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Apart from impressing in the latter half of Leicester’s remarkable run to the quarter-finals of the 2016-17 UEFA Champions League, Ndidi soon established himself as one of the most daunting and energetic defensive midfielders in the Premier League and nailed down a regular starting role right from the beginning of his time at the King Power Stadium.

Still only 22, Ndidi has already proven himself to be an exceptional talent and Leicester might struggle to hold on to him for too long if he continues to develop at such a rapid rate.

The Nigerian international continues to be a massive bargain for Leicester and the Foxes are likely to recoup at least two to three times the money should they decide to move him on in the near future. 

4. Marouane Fellaini – £15million

The Belgian international’s towering frame and bushy haircut became a familiar sight for the Premier League fans for almost a decade, especially for those at Goodison Park and Old Trafford.

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Former Everton manager David Moyes was the man responsible for bringing the 6ft 4in central midfielder to the Premier League in 2008 for a fee of £15million from Standard Liege and he reunited with Fellaini at Man United in the summer of 2013.

Fellaini went on to enjoy an illustrious and distinguished career in English football, and racked up a mammoth 354 appearances in all competitions for Everton and Man United combined, registering a total of 55 goals and 38 assists in the process.

The 2018-19 season proved to be Fellaini’s swansong in the Premier League, with the Belgian moving to the Chinese Super League in January 2019.

However, he has to go down as one of the best ever Belgian imports in the history of the Premier League, having won the FA Cup, League Cup and the Europa League with Man United.

5. Romelu Lukaku- £12 million

Currently one of the stalwarts in the Premier League, Romelu Lukaku bagged 41 goals in 98 appearances for Anderlecht and won a host of honours in Belgium, including the Belgian Pro League in 2009-10 and the Ebony Shoe before earning a £12million move to Chelsea in 2011. 

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Lukaku, however, struggled for playtime at Stamford Bridge and established himself as a free-scoring forward in the Premier League during his loan spells, netting 17 for West Brom in the 2012-13 season and following it up with another 16 at Everton in the following campaign.

The Belgian centre-forward joined Everton permanently in 2014 and subsequently carved out a massive reputation for himself owing to his free-scoring form, which saw him rack up a staggering 87 goals in 166 appearances for the Toffees.

Following his resounding success at Everton, Lukaku moved to Man United for a fee of £75million in 2016 but his returns have dipped slightly during his stint at Old Trafford, as he has accumulated just 42 goals in 96 appearances for the Red Devils till date.

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Newcastle Dragon

5 most successful signings of the Mike Ashley era at Newcastle United

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5 most successful signings of the Mike Ashley era at Newcastle United

There is hardly any Newcastle United fan who would disagree with the statement that Mike Ashley has done a bad job of owning the club.

Ever since the retail magnate bought out the shares of the club from the Hall family and the late Freddy Shepherd back in 2007, Newcastle United have been in some kind of a downward spiral in the Premier League.

Indeed, the fans have thrown plenty of tantrums at Ashley for his negligence towards the club’s training facilities, poor maintenance of the stadium, improper management and decision making at the board level, and most importantly, the lack of investment to bring in top-quality players from across the continent.

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Now, it doesn’t require a rocket scientist to figure out the reason behind the club’s downfall from being top-six contenders to relegation contenders in the Premier League.

Apart from the lack of progress in all aspects, starting from the improvement of training facilities to building a strong base for the future, Newcastle’s shoestring budget and their inability to compete with the other clubs on financial grounds have hit them hard.

Moreover, Ashley’s reluctance to loosen his purse strings and pay good-enough wages to attract players has also marked a negative transition as far as the club’s recruitment policy is concerned.

There was a time when the Magpies used to raid the European market for top-quality stars but that has changed drastically, with Ashley simply making a profit by selling players.

Yes, the big-money arrivals of Joelinton and Miguel Almiron can be considered as an occasional deviation from a rather one-dimension policy but in all honesty, Ashley hasn’t shown that kind of ambition often. 

Prior to Ashley’s takeover of Newcastle, the fans were used to seeing the club operating in the upper reaches of the Premier League. There was a time back in the late 90s and the early 2000s when Newcastle used to fly the English flag high in European competitions.

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Talking about investment and ambition, it might be hard to recall now but the elderly fans would probably still remember that the Magpies broke the world transfer record in 1996 to bring Alan Shearer to the club from Blackburn Rovers.

With that in mind, however, the erosion of the club’s status under Ashley has been quite a sorry tale, to say the least. The current owner has already overseen two relegations to the Championship and he has hardly shown any intent to mend his ways.

However, realistically, Mike Ashley is a shrewd businessman and he is right up there with the best in the world when it comes to completing bargain deals in the market and making a profit by selling players to other clubs.

So, without further ado, let us take a look at some of Newcastle’s most successful signings under the infamous ownership of Mike Ashley.

1. Fabricio Coloccini 

The powerful long-haired Argentine centre-back established himself as a firm fan favourite over the course of his eight seasons in the North East of England, having arrived for a fee of £10.3million from Spanish side Deportivo La Coruna in the summer of 2008. 

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Coloccini won plenty of hearts with his robust defending, high levels of commitment, as well as his leadership skills and daunting forward runs, accumulating a total of 275 appearances for the Magpies in all competitions. 

The South American was an integral part of the Magpies side managed by Alan Pardew that reached the quarter-finals of the 2012-13 UEFA Europa League. 

Still going strong at the age of 37, playing for San Lorenzo in his homeland, the former 39-cap Argentine international has to go down as one of Ashley’s masterstrokes.

2. Ayoze Perez

Not many would have been happy when Perez switched boats to join Leicester City for a fee of £30million earlier this summer but as a matter of fact, Newcastle United pocketed an incredible profit from the Spaniard’s sale.

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Signed from Spanish second-tier side Tenerife for a fee of just £1.5million back in 2014, Perez spent his formative years at St.James’ Park and gradually evolved into a quality playmaking forward in the Premier League.

Perez’s tally of 48 goals in 195 appearances in all competitions do not look prolific on paper but considering that he arrived as a complete rookie and rose through the ranks by the sheer dint of his merit, the Spaniard, indeed, deserves a lot of credit.

Newcastle though, have every reason to rue his departure given that they toiled hard to transform him into a quality player and failed to hold on to his services just when he was about to enter his prime at 25.

3. Yohan Cabaye

The French central midfielder came through the door at Tyneside as a proven source of goals and assists, having accumulated 37 goals and 32 assists in 252 appearances for Lige 1 outfit Lille prior to his £4.3million move to Newcastle.

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The technically-gifted ace went on to establish himself as one of the mainstays of the club’s midfield and evolved into an undisputed starter over the course of his two-and-a-half season stay, amassing 18 goals and 14 assists in 93 appearances across all competitions.

Talk about making a profit, Newcastle moved him on to PSG in January 2014 for a fee of £19million, as Ashley once again showed that he is adept at playing hardball with the potential suitors. 

Cabaye, of course, enjoyed a trophy-laden spell at the French capital before returning to Crystal Palace for another stint in the Premier League.

4. Demba Ba 

The Senegalese international made his move to the Premier League with West Ham from German club Hoffenheim in January 2011 but his heroics of scoring 7 goals in 12 Premier League outings in the second half of the 2010-11campaign wasn’t enough to avoid relegation for the Hammers. 

Ba joined Newcastle United on a free transfer thereafter in the summer of 2011 after terminating his contract with the Hammers, and he hit the ground running instantly.

The towering and powerful centre-forward’s general nous of finding the net saw him rack up 16 goals in his first season before scoring another 13 goals in the first half of the 2012-13 campaign, which earned him a £7million move to heavyweights Chelsea in January 2013.

Ba’s spell at Tyneside saw him rack up 29 goals in 58 games in all competitions.

5. Georginio Wijnaldum

The most expensive inclusion in the list, Georginio Wijnaldum joined Newcastle for a fee of £14.5million from Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven in the summer of 2015 and took the Premier League by storm in his debut season. 

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That, however, proved to be his only campaign at Tyneside and the Dutch midfielder left to join Liverpool for a fee of £25million in 2016 after Newcastle’s relegation to the Championship.

Wijnaldum though, did make a big impact in his only season at Newcastle, as the Dutchman starred with 11 goals and 5 assists in 40 appearances across all competitions, including four goals in a game against Norwich City in the Premier League.

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Barcelona

9 most expensive internationally uncapped players in football right now

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9 most expensive internationally uncapped players in football currently

We all know that money flows very easily in football nowadays and the involvement of multi-million-pound investors has made it a walk in the park for European clubs to splash the cash.

That, however, doesn’t mean that they have got all the money in the world because the Chinese clubs too have a lot of easy cash at their disposal and often manage to snap up promising prospects with their financial prowess.

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As a matter of fact, the clubs hardly take into account the international recognition of the players but it is their performances in the club circuit that matter the most.

As evident from some of the transfers these days, it is true that big-money moves don’t always depend on whether or not players have been capped internationally by their respective nations. The international status is no longer considered as a big asset in the CV of any footballer.

Keeping that in mind, let us take a look at some of the most expensive internationally uncapped footballers in the world.

Note: Those who have gained international status following their big-money moves, such as Ederson Moraes, Richarlison, Arthur and so on, are not taken into consideration. The list only includes those who are yet to be capped by their nations at the senior level.

1. Aymeric Laporte – £57 million

Man City splashed out a then club-record fee of £57million to bring in French centre-back Aymeric Laporte from La Liga outfit Athletic Bilbao in January 2018.

The technically-gifted defender proved himself to be a tailor-made fit for Pep Guardiola’s system and quickly nailed down a regular starting role at the Etihad.

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Laporte’s consistently impressive performances have led to him being regarded as one of the best young centre-backs in the Premier League. However, as surprising as it might sound, the left-footed defender is yet to earn a senior cap for the France national team.

The 25-year-old has already won two Premier League titles, the FA Cup and League Cup with Man City but that apparently hasn’t been enough to impress Didier Deschamps.

2. Aaron Wan-Bissaka – £50million

Currently an England U-21 international, Aaron Wan-Bissaka was a hot property this summer and Man United seemingly stole a march over their Premier League rivals by forking out £50million to sign the right-back from Crystal Palace.

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His impressive performances for the Eagles last season, coupled with his obvious talent and massive potential, kind of justifies that price tag but England have the likes of Kieran Trippier and Trent Alexander-Arnold currently vying for that right-back role.

Gareth Southgate, though, is likely to have Wan-Bissaka on his radar for the near future, with a view to having him cap-tied for England. Just to remind the fans, he is still eligible to represent DR Congo owing to his African heritage.

3. Malcom – £36.5million

The former Corinthians winger racked up 23 goals and 16 assists in 96 appearances for Bordeaux in all competitions over the course of three seasons before Barcelona successfully signed the burgeoning Brazilian talent in the summer of 2018.

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The £36.5million price tag looked quite outrageous when the move materialized and the left-footed creative winger struggled to nail down a regular starting spot in Barcelona’s star-studded first team last season.

A part of the Brazil U-20 side that finished as runners-up at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup, Malcom has been called up by senior international coach Tite on a couple of occasions, although he is still awaiting his first cap.

4. Vinicius Junior- £38.7million

One of the most talented Brazilian exports to have gatecrashed the Spanish market in recent times, Vinicius Junior shot to prominence with Flamengo before earning a £38.7million move to Real Madrid last summer. 

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It is a no-brainer that he arrived at the Bernabeu as a future prospect and only played a bit-part role in the first-team last season, although he still managed to earn plenty of plaudits for his quick feet, razor-sharp anticipation, lightning pace, instant acceleration and mesmerizing dribbling skills to complement a deadly eye for key passes.

Vinicius was called up to the Brazil national team for the friendlies against Panama and the Czech Republic earlier this year but he had to withdraw due to an injury and currently remains uncapped at the senior international level.

5. Rodrygo Goes – 45million

Real Madrid made the headlines with the signing of highly-rated 18-year-old winger Rodrygo Goes from Brazilian club Santos last summer for €45m, although the teenage sensation continued his development with Santos this past season as a part of the agreement between the two clubs.

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The electric left-winger has already represented Brazil at U-17 and U-20 levels but it doesn’t look likely that he would be getting a senior breakthrough any time soon given the intense competition for places in Brazil’s ranks.

6. Anthony Modeste – 35.7million

Anthony Modeste’s feat of 25 goals in 37 appearances for Cologne in the Bundesliga in the 2016-17 season propelled the club to the European front for the first time in 25 years and Chinese outfit Tianjin Quanjian splashed €35.7million to bring the Frenchman to the Far East.

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However, he went AWOL after netting 16 goals in 29 appearances for the Chinese side and returned to Cologne.

The Bundesliga veteran is now 31 and the prospect of international football with France looks bleak.

7. Ayoze Perez- £30 million

Newcastle only spent £1.5million to bring Ayoze Perez from Spanish second-tier side Tenerife back in 2014 but the Magpies made an eye-watering profit when Leicester City forked out £30million to sign the playmaking forward this summer. 

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Perez scored 48 goals in 195 appearances over the course of five seasons at St.James’ Park and represented Spain a couple of times at the U-21 level, although he is yet to receive a senior international cap.

8. James Maddison – £24million

The playmaker established himself as one of the breakout stars in the Premier League in the 2018-19 season following his move to the King Power Stadium from Norwich City last summer.

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The 21-year-old racked up an impressive 7 goals and 7 assists in the league this past season for Leicester City and proved himself to be worth every penny of the £24million that the Foxes had spent to bring him to the club.

Maddison’s impressive performances earned him a senior England call-up for the UEFA Nations League fixture against Croatia last year but he is yet to make his debut for the Three Lions. Gareth Southgate will probably be having him on his radar for Euro 2020, nevertheless.

9. Issa Diop – £22million

West Ham spent £22million to bring the towering French centre-back to East London from Ligue 1 outfit Toulouse last summer and he went on to have a massive impact at the London Stadium under Manuel Pellegrini in the Premier League this past season. 

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Diop has represented France at all youth levels from U-16 to U-21, although he still remains eligible to represent Senegal through his father, and Morocco through his mother’s heritage.

Still only 22, the 6ft 4in giant does look like a bright international prospect for all three aforementioned nations.

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