Manuel Veth –
After making an impressive impact on the MLS during their inaugural 2017-18 season, Atlanta United seem both comfortable and content in setting the pace of the 2018-19 campaign. Led by star midfielder Miguel Almirón appear to be a much more polished side now, both tactically and technically, buoyed by the strong complement of talented young players the side boasts.
The Five Stripes, coached by Tata Martino, have been blazing an early trail in the MLS and while there’s still a long way to go, with nine victories, one draw and just a single defeat, the results underline why Atlanta United are priced as 5/2 MLS Cup football betting favourites with bet365, topping both the Eastern Conference and Supporters’ Shield rankings so far this season.
Likewise, no other player can match the consistent quality Almirón has provided his team thus far. The 24-year-old boasts an 8.38 average match rating in the whoscored.com performance charts, the highest in the MLS, while also being the fourth highest scorer with 6 goals in 9 games, in which he’s also served up 5 assists for his teammates. With a chart-topping total of 5.4 shots per game average, inside and outside the box, this is a player oozing with confidence.
Miguel Almirón compares favourable to other stars
Such pleasing displays from Miguel Almirón clearly suggest that even world-class veteran stars such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic at LA Galaxy, Carlos Vela at Los Angeles FC, or even World Cup winner David Villa at New York City FC, will struggle to better the phenomenal displays the young Paraguayan is producing with every game at Atlanta United.
Venezuelan forward Josef Martínez is banging in the goals, and Ezequiel Barco has impressed with his limited displays so far, as the 19-year-old continues to be eased into the action following his MLS record $15 million move from Independiente, but Almirón is undoubtedly the key player pulling all the strings for Atlanta United as an attacking force to be reckoned with.
Perhaps the only fear for Atlanta United fans might be how long they’ll remain able to enjoy such a precocious talent when they flock to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Almirón won the 2017 MLS Newcomer of the Year Award, made the 2017 MLS Best XI and featured in the 2017 MLS All-Star selection last season, but there are growing concerns that his time with the club may be limited.
Miguel Almirón – English football could be a good fit
After such an excellent first season individually and continuing to shine brightly in 2018, Almirón certainly has no shortage of admirers. The player himself has made no secret of his desire to play in Europe, while numerous clubs in Spain, Italy and England have been linked with genuine interest, carefully monitoring the exciting progress of the Paraguayan attacking midfielder.
“English football would definitely be a very good fit for Miguel Almirón,” the player’s agent Daniel Campos highlighted recently, amidst speculation that Newcastle United boss Rafa Benítez is keen to secure a summer deal and that Arsenal have long been following his progress, ever since the player made his breakthrough in Argentina at Lanús.
Nevertheless, without any official offers on the table as yet, according to Atlanta United team president, Darren Eales, the hope remains that Almirón will see out the entirety of the season with his current club. Certainly, the fans would appreciate that from a player who they hold in such high regard, even though they accept that it’s just a matter of time before he’s playing a starring role elsewhere.
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.