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How Did Newcastle’s Previous Record Signings Compare to Miguel Almiron?

Posted on April 17th, 2019 | 21 Comments |

Miguel Almiron
Almiron – Early days.
For many seasons Newcastle United fans have been urging owner Mike Ashley to splash the cash during the transfer window, and they finally got their wish in January 2019. The Magpies splurged on Atlanta United playmaker, Miguel Almiron, with the lively Paraguayan commanding a club-record fee of £21 million. He’s made an impressive start to life on Tyneside, with his work rate and productivity immediately endearing him to the Geordie faithful. He’s certainly helped Rafa’s men look sharper in the final third, but how does Almiron’s impact compare to the club’s previous record-signings?

Michael Owen.

Michael Owen
Many Newcastle fans were taken aback when Michael Owen returned to the Premier League from Real Madrid and joined the club for an eye-watering £16million transfer fee in 2005. The striker was approaching the end of his playing career, but the club felt as though he still had plenty to offer. Sadly, their optimism was misplaced. The former Liverpool man admits that his spell in the North East ‘turned into a nightmare‘, and spoke about his ill-fated tenure at the club on Sky Sports’ Premier League Legends show. He managed just 30 goals across a three-year spell at St. James’ Park, before signing for Manchester United. Fans became frustrated with the frontman’s perceived lack of effort, and many feel as though he spent more time on the treatment table than on the pitch.

Owen is one of a number of players who have played for both Newcastle and Liverpool, with Andy Carroll’s (in)famous transfer for £36million in January 2011. The injury-prone striker commanded the highest amount ever paid for a British player between two clubs and despite inflation, he remains one of the most expensive footballers in the history of the Premier League. Although Owen did provide some moments of magic during his spell with the club, he remained largely unpopular with the fanbase.

Georginio Wijnaldum.

Georginio Wijnaldum
Georginio Wijnaldum had been catching the eye in the Eredivisie during spells with PSV and Feyenoord and had previously been linked with a move to England. Steve McClaren was confident enough to spend £14.5million on the Dutch playmaker and he arrived with plenty of fanfare. He tended to flit in and out of matches, but fans were understandably patient with the new arrival. Unfortunately, he failed to find the net away from St. James’ Park, although he more than made amends with some memorable performances in front of the Sir John Hall stand.

It was a mixed spell for Wijnaldum, who was part of the side relegated to the Championship, but he proved to be the occasional game-changer. He scored four times against Norwich in October 2015, although he wasn’t able to deliver this kind of performance on a regular basis. Despite this, Newcastle made a tidy profit on the 28-year-old who joined Liverpool for £25million in 2016, and he’s become a vital member of the Reds squad for the last three seasons. He remains relatively popular with Newcastle fans, and probably just about sets the benchmark for Almiron.

Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Aleksandar Mitrovic
The Toon went in search of a prolific striker and Aleksandar Mitrovic was the man who appeared to fit the bill. He was coveted by a number of top clubs, but it was the Magpies who swooped in to land the Anderlecht man for £13 million in 2015.

Unfortunately, the Serbian proved to be a bit of firebrand and spent more time being reprimanded by match officials than adding his name to the score-sheet. He scored nine times in 34 games, before adding a further four in the top flight. His style didn’t suit Rafa Benitez’s preferred system and the controversial frontman was eventually shipped out to Fulham.

There were moments of quality during his time at the club, but he left many supporters on edge and was spent far too much time serving his various suspensions. He’s since scored regularly for the Cottagers, but he only seems to flourish in a particular system and Newcastle weren’t able to accommodate this. Although many supporters enjoyed his contribution, he was far from trustworthy and Almiron already looks to be a far more reliable proposition.

Miguel Almiron’s Newcastle career may still be in its infancy, but he looks a decent fit for the club. He is calmer than Mitrovic and significantly less injury-prone than the ageing Michael Owen. He’s still settling into his new surroundings, but Toon fans will be hoping that he can fulfil that early promise in the Premier League next season.

NUFCBlog Author: Frankly Various Frankly Various has written 31 articles on this blog.

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21 Responses

  1. Watching the game yesterday, I had the thought that maybe, in hindsight, the real advantage of spending over £20 million on Almiron hasn’t been the play of Almiron himself so far, but that it has transformed one of our existing players, Perez, into a £20 million player. I don’t just mean Perez’s hat-trick yesterday, but his performances ever since Almiron joined the club, which have improved markedly. I’m not necessarily knocking his performances before, after all he was only a £1.5 million signing from a second level Spanish club and bearing that in mind, the lad has done well. My thoughts were subsequently echoed by one of the pundits on ‘MotD’ yesterday evening.

    Getting back to Almiron, he has shown bags of energy and running and has made a contribution, but he hasn’t scored any goals or provided any assists yet, which Perez certainly has since Almiron arrived.

    Chuck, getting back to your other points on the other page, I don’t know why you used the Glazers as an example of intelligent spending, if you want to blow the trumpet of your fellow Yanks, I’d pick Henry if I were you. Credit where credit is due, he’s done an excellent job at Liverpool so far.

  2. Worky

    Yes you have a point in regard to the Glazers, but I believe (having just watched the Man. U. vs Everton game) that it is a temporary situation, with the vast amount of ready cash available to the club,

    I don’t want to appear to be a harbinger of doom for the club, but I don’t believe the present top level management there are up to snuff and good management is essential. .

    I’m sure Woodward is re-considering if his present manager is up to the job and it’s obvious that changes to the side are badly needed, it’s just that this club has been such a milk cow for the Glazer family, that they have no choice but to reinvest.

    And we only have to compare most EPL sides to realize that the money invested in the club reflects directly to the clubs success.

  3. You’re worried about the top level management at Man U now, Chuck? Maybe they should poach Lee Charnley? It’s been a bit like the England team there, a place where top managers go to ruin their CV. It was Sven and Capello with England, or Van Gaal and Mourinho with Manchester United. Eventually they finally both give up on the big name thing and bring in Gareth Southgate and the ‘Baby Faced Assassin’ and strangely, things start to get better.

  4. No actually i’m not the least concerned whether M.U.are relegated or not, simply stating the present difference between clubs in the EPL.

    When they took over as the winningest side following Liverpool’s demise, as league leaders, back in the day,
    the league was still open to a number of clubs winning the title .
    (For instance Keegan’s NUFC) something not expected to-day
    for the simple reason it’s now all about money, you know that !

    And yes one could use the example of Leicester to disprove that, but we all recognize that as an aberration, that happens sometimes.

    Plus the fact concerning The Glazer family who I believe bought the club for around a thousand million and who have made it into a cash cow for some of their other failing business’ and family needs., say what you like about M.U.
    but their worldwide earnings are enormous still.

    Clubs with super rich owners are and will continue to be the
    elite of the football world, with the occasional aberration taking place, such as Leicester winning the EPL .

    Even sides like Liverpool, with their US owners find it difficult to compete, even though they like M.U.earn big bucks (worldwide income) from their former success as both champions and European cup winners.

    And I believe Ashley has the kernel of successful policy
    in making the Toon into a big name issue with his idea of becoming a big earner in in Asia, which in turn could see the club possibly become a very viable Franchise, look at the success of clubs, like Spurs for instance, with their policies in the last decade or less, champions league, top six regular and a brand new stadium, all based on good upper managements efforts.

    As for England and it’s poisoned chalice role of manager, I recall a time when the side was chosen by a group of selectors and the manager usually resulted in who looked the best in a blazer and tie, not who was the most successful manager , such as Brian Clough, I mean who did Walter F****ng Winterbotam ever coach other than England and why ?

    Just a bit of reality and experience in top management not a policy that has consistently failed for the last decade, is badly needed, we already have enough control freaks at the club.

  5. Winningest? Chuck, you Yanks really should be locked up for what you’ve done to the world’s finest language, the language of Shakespeare! On the football though, it was about money in the days of Keegan’s entertainers as well, it’s just that it’s about considerably more money today.

    I don’t know, as you say, there was a time when the League when won with boring regularity by Paisley’s Liverpool, then Ferguson’s Manchester United took over, but don’t you undermine your own argument? some might say that it is more open now than it was back then with the two red teams. It isn’t just about how rich the owner is, after all, according to how these things are worked out, Ashley is slightly richer than John Henry on paper, though Henry is a professional sports club boss, not a rag trader, and of course, with typical Geordie luck, Ashley is the world’s tightest billionaire.

    As for Winterbottom, he was before my time, but he was an RAF war hero. From what I have read about him, his teams seemed to suffer from ‘premature ejaculation’ in that they would reach their climax just before rather than during a major competition. His England record in world cups was much the same as today, ie quarter final fodder. However, he was a huge figure in coaching through his other responsibility. As the FA’s Director of coaching he nurtured a whole generation of top English managers such as Bobby Robson, Vic ‘total football’ Buckingham, Bill ‘push and run’ Nicholson (Spurs’ greatest manager), Ron Greenwood, Dave Sexton, Malcolm Allison etc…

  6. Worky

    How does a yank with only one point one billion, manage to
    become owner of the best or one of the best sides in the EPL
    a guy who bought an ageing baseball stadium that holds only around thirty six or so thousand but is the one stadium that continues to cater to full houses because it is on so many bucket lists, not unlike Wrigley field in Chicago.

    O course the club earn much more from sales outside the UK, having won more trophies than most, so in fact it’s obvious that with that extra income it may be easier to have a more success, though I personally believe it’s a case of having an excellent upper management system.

    Same thing with Spurs, a fairly good season, no big names brought in, but also the proud owners of an excellent new stadium, among others who have either extended or rebuilt
    their arenas, management having worked around money matters, by renting and refraining from big money purchases .

    Could it be that Ashley just doesn’t understand all there is to know about the business, being Pro. football is a business like any other, with success coming from having a winning side.
    Plus the fact there was obviously a lack of knowledge which was understandable, when you hire such people as Pardew and his second in command the self proclaimed best manager in the EPL, to be replaced by others who in
    perspective make one cringe.

    And of course here he has the opportunity to dump the whole thing into Benitez lap and concentrate on his real business, rebuild the side, take advantage of a new youth system now that jobs for the boy’s is over.

    I believe Benitez has both the desire and ability to run the club in a way no one has since the beginning of the present regime and it would be Ashley’s biggest mistake yet if he doesn’t reach a deal that both can live with.

    A goodwill gesture by sending the club to Asia apart from being a drag for the players could help, but a more successful side would do better, in returning tat from the satanic mills of Asia to sell to the locals, after all this is supposed to be the Asian century innit ?

  7. As far as England managers are concerned, how many are now working in both of the top leagues to-day, the job it’s self has become a poisoned chalice being it exposes the general lack of tactical knowledge.

    It took a hammering by the Hungarians in the mid fifties to make people realize that England had retrogressed by isolating themselves from the general advances to the game and it’s been a game of catchup since, with most top EPL sides boasting of some of the worlds best young managers and with a golden opportunity to secure Rafa on a long -term basis, it’s an opportunity that Ashley should not turn his nose at, sure there are plenty of cheap’o
    managers (we have had some already) and don’t want any more thank you !

    But don’t forget this man Benitez is well respected and as good a manager as is available for a club such as NUFC
    don’t let this opportunity pass, as it will once again result in Bedsheets and parades followed by a lack of attendance and apathy.

    Where NUFC will become the anti thesis of what’s needed from a visiting club to some of the Asian capitals.

  8. Chuck, if you meant John Henry there, he’s worth more than that, though I don’t really trust these figures they come out with as there is always some guesswork in there. As I said though, Henry is a sports club owner, not a rag trader. We’ve been through the Ashley knows f-all about the football business and would be better leaving it to someone who does and we are in agreement about it.

    They say that people in the far east like teams who play in red as red is seen as lucky over there, but that doesn’t seem to bother huge teams who don’t play in red such as Real Madrid. I haven’t been to China but I have been to India and the S.E. Asian peninsula. When I told the locals I was a Newcastle United fan, the first thing they would say was ‘Ahhh! Aran Shearer!’. As we were English, we were seen as some kind of Premier League Gurus so they would ask us to predict the results of upcoming Premier League games for their bets. Poor as they are, they love a gamble. The truth was that they probably knew more than us and we felt the weight of responsibility on our shoulders in countries where the average income is measured in hundreds rather than tens of thousands but I digress. Anyway, I think that the superstar names definitely have an impact over there, though I don’t think Ashley is gannin’ to buy us Mohammed Salah or Neymar any time soon!

    The Hungarians made a big step forward in football, and England weren’t the only team they made look foolish. The Dutch made another big step forward decades later but neither won the World Cup due to the same nemesis, the Germans.

  9. Hmmm ! lousy game against Brighton, hell we dominated what appeared to be a side about ready to considering surrender , only to find a totally different side (whatever it was that Hughton said @ half time) in the second period.

    However apparently we are safe (With a goal of 15th. place like we can’t do better), listen the days of owner fans confrontation are not necessarily over, as a matter of fact the fans are angry, that by listening to your empty promises over a decade, nothing has really changed.

    And when you don’t understand the best hire you ever made has a plan and a schedule, plus a lot more to offer this club, as most promising young continentals, care only about instantaneous success, one understands that Rafa, has taken a likening to the Newcastle fans and what he sees as support, a state of the art Broadcasting system, plus unequaled fan and stadium support.

    Soh ! for the sake of bringing a more successful side to East Asia, (one well within the top ten) what’s the point (I mean it’s not as if we wear a red strip or anything considered lucky) that could help sales there, but a bit of success always helps and impresses.

    Can you imagine the problems that Rafa. will have (course that’s considering he stay’s) we gotta get rid of half the team and the rest want out, ah well !

    The thing is where would one find a more dotting bunch of fans, who show up so regularly and have such passion for the side, has our dear owner no sense of how many lives he is messing with and just sell the club to someone who cares, or at least give the side support for a attempt that is not restricted to either fighting the drop or No 15# in the league.

  10. Chuck, it was the same thing we’ve been discussing, we completely dominated a Brighton who weren’t all there for the first half but we only scored one goal thanks to a player who is in a remarkable spell of form at the moment. If he wasn’t we might have lost 0-1 again.

    I must admit that you got me, Chuck. I can defend the delightfully named Walter Winterbottom, but I can’t really muster up much of a defence of current English managers overall. Outside the English league there are lots of Robbie Fowlers, John Carvers and Peter Reids plying their trade in places no-one has heard of, but no Pep Guardiolas, alas. Maybe we need another Winterbottom to mould the Bobby Robsons, Bill Nicholsons and Vic Buckinghams of the future?

    For all their stadium improvements and world class squads they’ve built up, Liverpool and Spurs still haven’t won any major trophies yet, just finals, though Liverpool were robbed of the biggest one of all when Sergio Ramos deliberately took out Liverpool’s best player in the early stages of the Champions League final. Until they do they will be like Newcastle United in the 90s / 00s, nearly men who were great to watch but kept stumbling at the final hurdle.

  11. Well here we go with politics firmly stuck up a cul-de-sac and football heading into its summer silly season. This all made worse at NUFC by its “Dickensian” tat owner, most probably selling the better players and replacing them with unknowns from some European third division. I could go on at length about Ashley trying to run a football club in the same way as his tat empire, but its all been said before. Even so there are many still hanging on to the forlorn hope he will change “good luck with that”. Ah well here go’s with the endless list of names “linked with” being “watched” etc and if things look bad a fictitious buyer will appear to quickly disappear once things have quieted down.
    I suppose we could discuss referee’s officials etc, but no that would only boil my you know what! Don’t forget to keep your sharp knife drawer safely locked!

  12. Nutmag, if we beat Fulham and Crystal Palace beat Bournemouth we could finish 13th on goal difference, if we finished 10th and now 13th, that will be good going for Ashley. Having written that, even though we lost to Liverpool the other week, we put up a better resistance than Barcelona did.

    You mention Dickens but you obviously don’t beleive in the message of “A Christmas Carol”, that ‘Ebenezer Scrooge’ can be reformed, which is understandable I suppose.

  13. Worky Yes but unlike good old Ebenezer Ashley has only had the visit of ‘The ghost of 2008 and ‘Ghost of 2016’. What he really needs is the ‘Ghost of the empty stadium’ but there again Ebenezer has nothing on this B*****D. He can quite easily fend off the fans meagre efforts. Don’t expect any turkey’s for xmas only the ones that maybe transferred in to play next season. We’ve got this ‘Scrooge’ for sometime yet I’m afraid.

  14. Well it’s certainly been a good week for English clubs in European football, all English teams in both European finals, is must be a first? I can’t think of any country that has done that before. It will be good for the Premier League keeping their four automatic Champions League places anyway.

    Nutmag, are you still doing the painting?

  15. Sorry Worky been off line with a faulty land line. Yes still doing a bit, not painting to sell anymore. Still a member of the Leamington Studio Artists but not taking part in Warwick open Studios or Art in the Park this year. Really enjoying painting what I want rather than what others want or what is commercial. No pressure and working to the clock, had enough of that as a chef everything was based on timing. My main body of work now is North Eastern Industrial coal mining, ship building etc back to my roots as I’m from the home of the Pitman Artists. Just enjoying my old age but not neglecting my fitness still managing forty to fifty miles cycling a week twenty of those miles are what I call my “Gut Buster” run. The same amount of miles to SJP I used to cycle to the toon when I was a young ‘un back in the day.
    Doubt I would cross the road now. “Thanks Ashley”

  16. Not good at links and such but if you go on the Leamington Studio Artists web page and then click on art space then issue 48 you’ll see one of mine on page 98.

  17. Very nice Nutmag. I had a (second) cousin who lived in Ashington, although I’ve seen neither the town nor the cousin since the 70s.

    As it happens an artist moved into a flat upstairs from me on Monday. It seems he mainly paints seascapes:

    Alas I’m bereft of artistic talents although quite a few members of my mother’s family dabbled. I don’t have much of an eye for that sort of thing. I can’t even see what colours would work on my walls, thus they remain mainly magnolia.

  18. Ahh, at last I get to see one of your paintings, Nutmag! I thought you meant Newcastle ‘Lemington’ at first, then I thought it must have been gentrified if they had an art club there! I nearly had my car nicked in Lemington once but my mate shot the little bugger in the arse with an air rifle he had ready because it happened so often back in those days.

    Figure painting is totally my field. I really like the painting, I like the central figures, I like the lighting on the woman and the way you can feel the weight on her supporting leg. Does that mean you’ve been to Buenos Aires?

    Cycling always hurts my backside but I do do quite alot of walking. There’s an ex railway track runs down the side of my place which is now a very long, thin nature reserve which is part of the ‘London Ring’ that goes right around central London. It’s amazing how many trains and stations they had in the old days before Beeching moved in. I also remember seeing tank traps down there in case Hitler made it to London, though they must have been removed as I haven’t seen them for a few years now.

    I guess that Chuck has gone fishing again.

  19. Worky No I haven’t been to Buenos Aires but Nick who painted that particular painting most probably has. Mine is on the next page and I have been down a mine.
    Lemington please this is Royal Leamington Spa “don’t you know” and we have a Beeching railway that is a walking and cycle route. Soon we are about to have the HS2 pass close to our village ah progress.
    Tank traps must have made the train journey’s difficult, must have come later to stop boy racers and New age travellers as ours did.
    Really like cycling, always have, don’t do off road anymore too old for broken bones.
    Chuck maybe off traveling. The first thing that some American friends of mine said when I retired was “good you’ll be able to travel a lot now” it must be a Yank thing.

  20. Ah! I see it now, Nutmag, that was page 100. I really like that one too, both the idea and the execution, though it makes me feel somewhat claustrophobic. It reminded me of my trip through the Cu-Chi tunnels in Vietnam.

    They do say that most Americans, over 60%, never travel outside the US, and that over 10% never travel outside their own state, though I think that Chuckles is a seasoned traveller who fancies himself as a bit of a Michael Palin cum Ernest Hemingway!

    They were definitely WW2 tank traps, though I don’t know exactly why they were there, and I also know that a normal gauge train is almost the same width as a German WW2 Panther tank. This is the Parkland Walk anyway, which is a great thing to have down here in the smoke. I think that Chuck has a similar thing in NY called the ‘High Line’ though that is up a height.

  21. Hugh I actually came from a little further north to Ashington but spent a great deal of time there in the 40s-50s. At that time I believe there was 26 working men’s clubs and only 2 pubs, (you can get the attraction).
    There is a whole load of guff said and written about art but it boils down to personal likes and dislikes. I have seen some of the worlds “greatest” but the one that will always remain with me was done by my father. My father was injured badly in a pit accident, fractured skull, and crush injuries. He eventually when back to work on the surface not down the pit till much later. His job was running a hauler a big machine that pulled ‘tubs’ of coal, stone, timber about it was housed in a big brick building. I went there once as a child when he had forgotten his pipe. There was a charcoal drawing of my mother that filled the whole whitewashed back wall. I still get emotional thinking of it now knowing it would never be seen by the people who should have seen it and whitewashed over and lost forever.
    My father also gave me the best present I have ever had a bottle of indian ink and a mapping pen I had hours of pure bliss creating cartoons and pictures.
    Nothing wrong with magnolia as long as you cover it with loads of pictures you like.

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