Despite several reports suggesting a deal had been agreed in principle, Atlanta United president Darren Eales has told Sky Sports that the club are yet to receive a suitable offer for Miguel Almiron – insisting that he will NOT be loaned out or sold or £15m.
This comes after US reporter Roberto Rojas and NUFC reporter (for the Mail) Craig Hope claimed that Newcastle had all but agreed a deal to sign the Paraguayan on an initial loan, followed by a £15m fee to sign him permanently next summer.
Yesterday’s story from Hope suggested that a deal was in place but Benitez was simply waiting for Ashley to sanction the move, however Atlanta’s president has called these claims ‘laughable’ – strongly suggesting that we are yet to make a suitable offer and insisting that he will not be leaving for ‘chump change’.
Here’s what Eales said to Sky Sports late last night:
“The important thing is we have an owner that is 100 per cent behind the team and wants the team to win, and we have a fan base, so we have always said that if the right approach comes in – and it has to be the right offer for the player, the league, and most importantly the club – then we would consider it.
“I have seen some laughable things in the press, clearly we are never going to loan one of our players out and we are certainly not going to let them go for the ‘chump change’ that I have seen in some reports.
“If it’s a proper, serious offer then it’s something we would consider, but not for the laughable figures that I have seen mentioned in the press.”
So, maybe we did make a loan offer with an option to buy for £15m (it sounds like us given our tendency to loan players and then aim to sign them WITHOUT breaking our transfer record), however this clearly will not be enough – and it’s no surprise given prior reports always suggested he’d demand a fee of £20-25m.
Eales then spoke about Almiron as a player, insisting that he is ‘by far and away’ one of the best players in the MLS – stating that he has ‘no doubt’ that he will leave the club when the time is right and the offer is acceptable:
“He has proved in these two years that he is by far and away one of the best players in the league,”
“He is still a young player, he is a Paraguay international and it’s brilliant he can cope with the physicality of the Argentinian league with Lanus and also the MLS.
“He is an amazing player, he was one of the best players on the pitch in both of the All-Star games that we played against Juventus and Real Madrid.
“I have no doubt that when the time is right and the offer is right he can be a success in whatever league he goes to.”
Frustrating – but talk of unacceptable offers sounds just like us when trying to make an ambitious signing under Mike Ashley, unfortunately.
I was sceptical by the initial claims from Paraguayan reporter Roberto Rojas, but when they were backed up by our North-East correspondent for the Mail (Craig Hope), it sounded like there was some substance to it all.
With a takeover potentially in the offing and Ashley seeming unlikely to spend anything north of £15m, it now sounds like we may now rely on some big money from a prospective new owner if we’re to sign Almiron next month.