Newcastle’s record signing Miguel Almiron was due to train with his team-mates for the first time on Wednesday after finally being granted his work permit to play for the Magpies.
The 24-year-old Paraguay international, who completed a deadline-day move to St James’ Park from Major League Soccer side Atlanta United, had to leave the country while the paperwork was completed and he headed for Paris in the meantime.
However, Press Association Sport understands Almiron is back in the North-East and was expected to join his colleagues at the club’s Darsley Park training headquarters on Wednesday morning.
The playmaker is understood to have cost the Magpies in the region of £21million after a prolonged January pursuit which went close to the wire.
His name was at the top of manager Rafael Benitez’s wish-list as he attempted to strengthen his squad ahead of a final push for Premier League survival.
Full-back Antonio Barreca, who also arrived on Tyneside last week in a loan deal from Monaco, made his debut as a substitute in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat by Tottenham at Wembley.
Almiron could get his chance when the Magpies head for high-flying Wolves on Monday evening.
His capture represented a significant shift in a saga which has dogged the club in the last year or so, with owner Mike Ashley refusing to spend heavily in the transfer market while interested parties sought to put together workable takeover plans, and Benitez declining to sign a contract extension without assurances over the current regime’s ambition.
The Spaniard is out of contract in the summer and, while he is keen to stay, there is little doubt he is frustrated at having to negotiate a second scrap for safety having expected to be given the chance to build upon last season’s top-10 finish.
Whether or not Ashley’s decision to invest in Almiron represents a rapprochement remains to be seen, with sources on Tyneside having indicated there has been no development on the contract front in the last week.
However, the fact the sportswear magnate sanctioned a club-record purchase for the first time in his near 12-year tenure perhaps provided a pointer as to the chances of the club being sold in the short term.
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