When Miguel Almiron arrived at Newcastle United in January, he joined a club lead by a world class manager, was introduced to a packed out St James’ Park as our club record buy and quickly looked the part in an exciting attacking trio.
A few months on and he may have played a big part in our up-turn in form and surge to safety, but he’s going to be hit with a huge reality check when he finally reports back for pre-season training this month.
Not only will there be no Rafa Benitez (and Neil Redfearn instead unless we get our skates on), he’ll also be getting back to work without both Rondon and Perez.
He’s now lost the manager he was desperate to play under and two thirds of the ‘Three Amigos’ have now gone, with him likely to be operating with the likes of Gayle, Joselu, Muto and Murphy instead unless the club pull their finger out and sign some new attacking talent.
He may be our one ray of hope heading into the new season, with his pace, energy and spark having the potential to light up St James’ Park on even the darkest of days, but he can’t do it all on his own.
This season was always going to be a big one for him. You look at his form at the Copa America and sense he’s now ready to show what he can do after coming through that initial settling in period impressively, but what chance has he got if we swap Benitez for Bruce and fail to keep both Rondon and Perez – two players he gelled with brilliantly.
To make matters worse following the Paraguayan’s dream move from America, the passionate 52,000 crowd he played in front of last season could be a shadow of its former self.
We’ve already heard talk of 10,000 season ticket holders failing to renew, meaning the attendances could be set for a serious dip, however I fully expect the atmosphere to become toxic too should there be no takeover, no decent manager appointed and a lack of exciting signings.
For our sake and for his, let’s hope some much needed ambition arrives at the club in the form of a takeover.
If not, we better hope a capable manager and a few talented attackers arrive to take some of the weight off his narrow shoulders ahead of the coming season.