Miguel Almiron and Antonio Barreca can uplift Newcastle this season
Almiron, however, is not the only new face at Tyneside after the January transfer deadline, with the Magpies also securing the services of Italian left-back Antonio Barreca on loan from Monaco till the end of the campaign.
Rafael Benitez deserves all the sympathy in the world for fighting in the Premier League with a rather mediocre squad. The Spaniard has managed to get the club out of the relegation zone following a calamitous start which included a winless streak of eleven games.
Newcastle haven’t lacked organisation and discipline under the stewardship of the gaffer but they could not have expected much returns after spending a measly amount in the summer to acquire the services of Federico Fernandez, Fabian Schar, Yoshinori Muto and Ki-Sung Yueng.
They have often been criticised for their ultra-defensive brand of football this season but it is important to take note of the fact that the manager hasn’t had too many attacking options at his disposal. And that is exactly why the acquisition of an out-and-out No.10 in Miguel Almiron for a club-record fee has come at just the right time.
Benitez has been forced to use a back-five system with a line of four in the middle to thwart the opposition, but the availability of Almiron and Barreca is likely to prompt a more positive approach from the manager. While the former has lightning pace, acceleration, guile and vision to fill in the role of a wide forward or a second striker off Salomon Rondon, the presence of a specialist left-wing back will allow Matt Ritchie to play in a much more advanced position.
Both of them can add a lot more pace to the team, which is likely to make Newcastle more potent on the counter-attack and Rondon can expect a lot more joy inside the box. This combined with the fact that that the team has other quality attacking players – does make them a better prospect now.
Newcastle currently sit 15th in the standings with 24 points, just a couple of points clear of the relegation zone. Benitez’s men did exceptionally well to pull off a surprise win against Man City last week but they couldn’t replicate the same feat against Spurs in the next game.
There is still plenty of time for them to secure a respectable finish. The presence of Almiron and Barreca will certainly help their cause.