Newcastle boosted by Almiron contract extension, return of Guimaraes and Willock for cup final

NEWCASTLE: Newcastle United have received a double boost ahead of the Carabao Cup final with Manchester United.

Top scorer Miguel Almiron has been rewarded for his goal-laden 2022-23 form with a new three-and-a-half-year contract, announced on the eve of the League Cup showpiece at Wembley on Sunday.

And on the fitness front, Eddie Howe’s midfield options have not only been boosted by the return from suspension of Bruno Guimaraes, but also Joe Willock, who has been pictured training having appeared to shake off a hamstring problem which kept him out of last weekend’s Premier League loss to Liverpool.

The return of Willock poses a selection dilemma for Howe, who could opt to trade out Allan Saint-Maximin and solidify down the left after shipping two goals to the Reds last weekend. He could also switch Alexander Isak for second top scorer Callum Wilson.

One player certain of a place in the side, however, is Almiron.

The Paraguayan has been a key component in United’s rise this campaign, netting 10 goals in his 23 top flight games to date, an incredible tally when compared against his nine goals in the previous three years in the competition.

And the club have moved to secure the 29-year-old to a longer-term deal — much to the delight of the player.

He said: “I am very happy to sign a new contract with Newcastle.

“I felt at home at Newcastle from the beginning. I’ve felt very welcomed and I feel like part of the family, so I am very happy to stay here and I am going to keep giving everything on the pitch to thank the people of Newcastle.

“The truth is that I’ve worked really hard since I came to Newcastle to improve my level and to be where I am at the moment, and I also thank the staff and my teammates, who have helped me a lot during these four years,” Almiron added. “I think this is a reward for that hard work and I am very happy.

“On Sunday, we have a very important match and while the new contract makes me really happy, the most important thing is that we celebrate this contract with a victory,” he said.

Almiron has made more than 150 appearances for the Magpies since signing in January 2019 in a deal worth about $25 million.

Signed from Atlanta United, Almiron has won both the Premier League Player of the Month and Goal of the Month awards for October this season.

Head coach Eddie Howe said: “Miggy is a hugely important part of our squad on and off the pitch and I’m very pleased to see his contribution acknowledged in this way. I’m delighted we’ll continue our journey together.”