Ridgewell, who had spells with West Brom etc. etc., was playing in the US with Portland Timbers last season – and actually lined up against the Paraguayan playmaker in the 2018 MLS Cup final just a few months ago.
Speaking to TalkSPORT, here’s what Ridgewell had to say about Almiron – saying he’s an ‘exciting’ player who’s incredibly to tackle and ‘quicker with the ball than he is without it’:
“He’s very good. Very dynamic, very quick as well. I think he’s quicker with the ball than without it so he’s going to be very dangerous. It’s a big transition to come from the MLS to the Premier League and they’ll have to give him time to adjust but it’s a lot of money around his neck so he’ll have to adapt quickly.
“He’s not an out and out striker, he had Martinez playing in front of him. He’s more of a true number ten, picking up second balls and even connecting with the midfield so he’s not a centre forward. He’s more of a picking up the ball running at people from deep kind of player.
“Normally when they get the ball at their feet they slow down a bit but he doesn’t, which makes him very dangerous. It’s very hard to stick a tackle in on him – any time you think you can get him, he slips away from you. He’s a real prospect and one to excite the Toon Army. Newcastle will be a good place for him. With the fans behind him he’ll enjoy it.
“Certainly the way Newcastle are playing, sitting behind the ball and playing longer balls into Rondon and him holding it up and making a nuisance of himself, Almiron will be an asset to that. He’s a very good player so I’m sure he’ll learn quickly and they could have caught a little spark here. It’s exciting.”
Everything I’m hearing about Almiron really does suggest that he not only has huge talent, but he will also fit into our team brilliantly.
Many people I’ve spoken to have praised his pace, agility and trickery on the ball, however it also seems very noticeable that he’s a hard worker, a team player and a very good character.
Here’s highlights of the MLS Cup final – the game which saw Ridgewell come up against Almiron: