ATLANTA, UNITED—Miguel Almirón, an attacking midfielder for Newcastle United, has been one of the Premier League’s top performers thus far in the 2022–23 campaign. He has since emerged as one of the key players in Newcastle’s shrewd rebuild under manager Eddie Howe, which has seen them sit in the top four after 13 games played, from a position where his quality, if not his work rate, was being questioned.

The Paraguayan, along with Leandro Trossard of Brighton & Hove Albion, is the highest-scoring winger in the English top division this season, with only four players scoring more goals. Although there are similarities between Almirón and the Belgian star, and both have recently been among the league’s most impressive players, it initially appeared as though Almirón would never live up to the potential he displayed with Atlanta United in Major League Soccer.

Almirón’s transfer from Atlanta to Newcastle was to demonstrate that players from South America could use MLS as a stepping stone to the top European divisions. However, there was a view in some circles that he wasn’t a successful acquisition for Newcastle, which threw doubt on the ability of players to make such an advancement.

Almirón initially displayed encouraging signs after relocating to North East England in January 2019 under Newcastle’s then-manager, Rafa Bentez. Almirón had been trained by Gerardo Martino in Atlanta. Almirón played only ten games under Bentez, who left the team at the end of that season and was replaced by Steve Bruce.

Almirón’s subsequent performance slump and stagnation in his development occurred at this time. He continued to put in the same amount of effort and always gave 100% to the team, but despite scoring the club’s first goal under Bruce, his effectiveness and output declined. Whatever the cause, Almirón appears to be the Atlanta United player that might have had the talent to dominate the European leagues once more.

Now, that potential is being realized. In a squad that is proactive and frequently centered on possession, where the play is made rather than reacted to, his high work rate is now paired with exciting play. He has six goals in his previous seven games and seven in 13 Premier League appearances so far in the 2022–23 season, making him perhaps in the most excellent form of his career. Howe reiterated earlier in the month that Almirón has always been among the team’s best players, but he is now beginning to demonstrate this with goals and receiving praise.