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Report: ‘Done deal’ for Almiron, Newcastle United

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The latest report involving Atlanta United’s soon-to-be sold star Miguel Almiron comes four days before his final match with the Five Stripes.

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Readying for Sunday’s MLS Cup Final against Portland, the 24-year-old Paraguayn playmaker is said to be moving to Newcastle United for a $19 million price.

One reason to doubt the report is the price tag, though perhaps the market has dictated a “lower” fee for the prolific Almiron. Atlanta executive Darren Eales had spoken of a $33 million fee, something that West Ham was said to be willing to meet. Crystal Palace is also linked with the midfielder.

Almiron has 13 goals and 13 assists in 37 games including playoffs and cup competitions for Atlanta this season.

American reporter Roberto Rojas says the move could be a short-term loan with an option to buy, though that seems insane for Atlanta. A move is going to happen for Almiron in January, whether it’s this one remains to be seen.

14-year-old Ovelar scores first pro goal in Paraguay

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ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) Still only 14 years old, Fernando Ovelar scored his first goal for Cerro Porteno one week after becoming the youngest to ever play for the Paraguayan club.

Ovelar scored in the 15th minute of Sunday’s 2-2 draw against Cerro Porteno’s biggest rival, Olimpia. The midfielder calmly knocked the ball over goalkeeper Alfredo Aguilar for the opening goal.

Paraguayan clubs have been instructed to field at least one player younger than 19 to build experience in the country’s top league. Deportivo Capiata player Kevin Pereira is also 14 and has already debuted in Paraguay’s top league.

Former United States forward Freddy Adu, once regarded at “the next Pele,” was 14 when he scored his first professional goal for DC United in 2004.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Atlanta president: It would take $33m for us to entertain Almiron sale

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Atlanta United superstar Miguel Almiron seems destined to leave the Five Stripes for a big European test after this season, but the 12-times capped Paraguayan national teamer won’t come cheap.

That’s one of the reasons reports of an $11 million move to Arsenal for the 24-year-old wizard were met with skepticism last week.

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One of those skeptics is particularly important to the discussion, because he’s Atlanta United president Darren Eales, via MLSSoccer.com:

“It’s funny, you know,” Eales told 92.9 The Game. “You’ve made it when they start to make up quotes from you. One was they called me Eagles and the other was the $11 million dollar fee. It would take triple that to even get out of bed to look at offers for Almiron.”

Part of that, of course, is playing the market, as Atlanta has been very clear it won’t stand in the way of taking the stars it develops from reaching their potential.

Almiron cost Atlanta about $8 million, and has been subject to transfer rumors involving AC Milan and Newcastle United in addition to Arsenal.

Back then, the fee was quoted as $24 million, which made reports of an $11 million an eye-popping and eye-rolling experience well before Eales spoke his mind.

Atlanta has been linked with a move for Pity Martinez should a suitable offer arrive for Almiron, who wants to a move to Europe.

If there’s not at least a 2 in front of the fee, if not a 3, it would be stunning.

Reports: Atlanta eyes River Plate star as Almiron replacement (video)

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One of the more intriguing questions in Major League Soccer is what will Atlanta United do with the impending windfall that will arrive following the presumed sale of Miguel Almiron.

Almiron, 25, is looking for a European adventure in 2019 and has no shortage of suitors. He’ll net a significant fee, likely an MLS record.

[ MORE: Europa League preview ]

Multiple reports say the Five Stripes are looking at Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez, the 25-year-old Argentine playmaker with two caps for the Albiceleste. One report claims the move is “very close,” while The Athletic reports there is “still a lot to do” for the move to happen.

According to Transfermarkt, Martinez’s transfer value is about $5 million more than Almiron.

It’s not quite like-for-like, as Martinez is a more prolific finisher at the club level than Almiron was when he joined Atlanta.

Almiron scored nine times between 74 matches between Lanus and Cerro Porteno, while Martinez has 30 goals in 184 matches at a higher level with Huracan and River Plate (Lanus and both of Martinez’s clubs play in Argentina, while Cerro Porteno is in Almiron’s native Paraguay).

Tata Martino is expected to leave Atlanta, but perhaps this means that either the manager could be open to return or that United is eyeing another free-flowing, attack-minded boss.

‘Fierce but friendly’ stray dog an ‘assistant coach’ in Paraguay

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Talk about a new breed.

Dog puns. Be ready.

Don’t paws any further on the headline of The Guardian’s latest tail.

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A stray — or at least formerly stray — dog named Tesapara is being hailed as an assistant coach on Paraguayan side Club Sporting 2 de Mayo.

No word on whether he favors the use of pug goals.

And Tesapara is being hailed as a lucky dog for multiple reasons; For one thing, he now has a nice home. And his arrival has come with a terrific run of form for the club.

Here are some quotes from head coach Carlos Saguier, the former Paraguay national team coach and player who has also led Monterrey and Queretaro in Liga MX. From The Guardian:

“Tesapara is the guardian of the club,” Saguier told the Paraguayan newspaper Crónica. “She lives there – when the gates close she is fierce but by day she is friendly. She accompanies me on the pitch, in the corridors, in the office.”

The stray animal was seen around the club’s Monumental Río Parapití ground before Saguier arrived but became the head coach’s “companion” when he offered her a piece of an empanada. “She has been by my side ever since,” Saguier added. “She is my partner in adventure with this club.”

As new Paraguay national team coach Juan Carlos Osorio scouts for new domestic players, perhaps he can use a fiercely loyal South American dog.