Almiron’s agent claims he’d have left if it wasn’t for COVID pandemic

Daniel Campos, who represents the 26-year-old, claimed on Paraguayan radio station Futgol 970 that were it not for the global pandemic, he would no longer be at Newcastle, with clubs from Europe looking at the player for a move back in the summer.

Campos hinted that Atletico Madrid were scouting Almiron, who is said to be unhappy with his playing time and style of football at Newcastle.

That’s probably not a surprise, seeing as the former Atlanta United attacking midfielder has been utilised in an unfamiliar 5-3-2 formation in recent weeks, operating in more of a box-to-box role. Add to that the fact that Newcastle have the lowest average possession in the Premier League this season and there’s likely some truth to the rumours of discontent.

At the time of his signing, Almiron was Newcastle’s record transfer at £20.7m, a fee that would be eclipsed six months later by Joelinton’s £40m arrival from Hoffenheim.

Almiron has started four of Newcastle’s eight games this season and despite registering just one assist, is clearly one of Steve Bruce’s most creative players.

The Paraguayan showed that during the international break, winning his country a penalty in a 1-1 draw with Argentina, before missing the game against Bolivia through suspension.

Newcastle did want him to come back before that game, but Paraguay insisted he stayed with the squad and trained with them before flying back to Newcastle on Wednesday.

Newcastle United demanding release of midfielder from international duty

The playmaker was booked in the last few minutes of Paraguay’s 1-1 draw with Argentina in Buenos Aires on Thursday night, meaning he will miss the game next Tuesday.

However, Paraguay have not yet confirmed they will release the player, stating that they’d rather he stuck around with the group until after the Bolivia game.

Newcastle are keen to get their midfielder back ahead of their game against Chelsea next week, which is the early kick-off on Saturday, and will have been impressed with Almiron’s performance against Argentina.

The midfielder turned in a stunning performance to inspire his side, winning Paraguay the penalty which led to them taking the lead, and being one of the team’s main attacking focal points.

Steve Bruce will be hoping to get the best out of the former Atlanta United man, who has been struggling with his new midfield role in recent weeks.

Newcastle have injury worries in midfield with Ryan Fraser and Jonjo Shelvey sidelined , although they’ve been given a boost this week by the return to training of Matt Ritchie, who is coming back from a shoulder injury sustained earlier in the season.

Ritchie isn’t expected to be involved in the squad to face Chelsea, but Almiron will likely start, so long as his country allow him to leave to reduce the effects of jetlag.