Mustafa Saeed writes a detailed Scout Report about Paraguay’s future talisman, Miguel Almirón.
It never was a question whether Argentina is a football paradise, you get lost trying to recall the many greats produced by the nation, so naturally it is the dream for the South-American young players to play there and certainly that was no different for Miguel Almiron. He took next to no time to familiarize himself there though and has become one of the few who are nearing the real breakthrough.
Who is Miguel Almirón?
Not far away from Buenos Aires where he is currently playing, the Paraguayan attacking midfielder Miguel Almirón was born on 10 February, 1994. He took his first steps into football at 14 playing at the youth levels of the Paraguayan club Cerro Porteño, and then signed his first ever professional contract five years later for the same club. In that same lucky year for him-2013, he stood out in a very talented side that included Derlis González, Rodrigo Alborno and Brian Montenegro, finishing second in the U-20 South American Championship and qualifying for the U-20 FIFA World Cup as a result. Yet Almirón didn’t breakthrough into the Cerro Porteño first team as hoped. Francisco Arce, the first team boss, had put his faith in his more experienced first team players, leaving Almirón with the youth team impressing coach Roberto Torres. Midway through 2015, Torres was promoted to be the first team coach and that obviously was fantastic news for Almirón.
He snatched that chance impressively especially with Torres giving him the luxury to play with less emphasis on marking and pressing; in a free role that saw him drift in from the left hand side, Almirón scored 4 goals in the final 5 games of the season as Cerro Porteño romped to the title, and that was the happy ending and the perfect send off for him as by August he was off to Lanús. He made his debut for the Paraguayan national team only one month after that as well.
Now after one season at Lanús, the 22-year-old Paraguayan attacking midfielder has proved that he is a prized asset for the Argentinian club, playing a big role in Lanús’ Championship run and most importantly being one of the key players in Lanús 2016 4-0 Championship victory over San Lorenzo de Almagro at the Estadio Monumental.
Almirón was one of three key players for Lanús in midfield last season, with the other two being Iván Marcone, who was the main central midfielder, with Román Martínez and Almirón playing more on the wings.
They are three very different players, but when combined, they provided a blend of solidity with Marcone standing right in the middle of the park and covering the team’s defence. Martínez was in charge of the creative moments, but it was the Paraguayan Almirón, who showed that he is a star in the making.
Almirón in fact scored the second goal in the match against San Lorenzo, and the Paraguayan showed throughout the match that he was destined to play at a bigger club either in Argentina as there were rumors that he could join Buenos Aires rivals River Plate or even make a move across the Atlantic to play in Europe.
What is his Style of Play?
The first and most obvious attribute is his pace. The diminutive winger is always looking to step on the gas to pass over defenders. Great acceleration, an eye for a pass and always looking to make a defining impact on the attacking move. His vision is impressive as well.
Many spectators in Argentina compare his style to Angel Di Maria. I do not see much similarities there but certainly he has got some of the attributes.
What are his Strengths?
His ability to drift wide and cutting inside of the back four was an eye opener for me, he can keep the ball well and is always looking for space. He could be brilliant in a counter-attacking team; his pace and acceleration helps him to switch the play rapidly which is always a useful option to have in the modern game. Also the way he keeps possession allows him to find team-mates in space when they make promising runs across dangerous areas on the pitch.
Maybe without the ball he seems a bit lost tactically at times, which probably has prevented him from being a player plying his trade in Europe by now, but you would forget all of that when he has the ball at his feet.
What are his Weaknesses?
As I recently mentioned without the ball tactically he is not the best player you would see. He has to work on that among some other aspects like his defensive contribution which is becoming more and more crucial nowadays.
Another question that could pop up is if Almirón is physically ready to be thrown into the deep end, his work rate is questionable and his ability to deliver on more consistent basis as well. To make a mark in a more competitive league, he needs to improve a lot physically in order to fulfil his potential.
Arguably, decision making is the best attribute you can use to judge any football player, and it differs as usually young players take time and need experience to develop that which is the case with Almirón as well. He is sometimes one-dimensional as a forward running player and this can be really costly when losing position or even in the build-up play.
Staying till the end of this year there in Lanus could be a blessing in disguise for him despite having various offers from Europe. He is 22 already, so I think he should give his all to learn and react to those deficiencies that might see him come up short at the top level. If he does so and improves in the areas highlighted above, I can guarantee that he can make the cut in a European league.
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