NEWCASTLE UNITED’S record buy Miguel Almiron is handling the extra pressure that the Premier League spotlight has placed on his shoulders, according to manager Rafa Benitez.

Almiron has had an indifferent start to life on Tyneside since his £21m switch from Atlanta United and his six appearances have brought positives and negatives.

However, the overwhelming feeling at St James’ Park is that the Paraguayan has shown the sort of quality and tenacity at times to suggest he is going to be a long term hit at Newcastle – even if he is still waiting for his first goal.

Almiron was regarded as the most valuable player in the Major League Soccer as his goals and assists helped Atlanta to glory before moving the Premier League.

Benitez said: “Perhaps if I asked the specific question to him, does he need a goal, he would say ‘yes’ but he is happy and you can see that in the matches. He is doing OK. I do not see any anxiety just because he is not scoring. He is fine.

“You talk about Salomon Rondon, Ayoze Perez and Almiron and they play well together but I want to be fair with Christian Atsu too because he was doing well. Had he not been playing well, that is different.

“Maybe Almiron has more pace going forward causing more problems for defenders and that is beneficial for Rondon and Ayoze. I feel he is fine, he is handling the exposure of the Premier League. He is someone who likes to stay at home, comes here, trains, and is a nice lad. I am not too worried about what is going on around him. I am concentrating on what he is doing here.”

The Almiron questions were sparked in the build up to tonight’s trip to Arsenal because he was sent off playing for Paraguay against Mexico inside just seven minutes of playing time during the international break.

The suspension does not affect club football, so he should start at the Emirates tonight.

Benitez said: “I was talking with him. There was some delay with the plane. On Friday morning, when I saw him in the gym, he said he was fine. I asked him again during the training session, asked him if he was OK and he said ‘yes’.

“I do not think he is the sort of player who would make a bad tackle on purpose. It was the situation. They were losing and he has this energy. But mentally, he is ready and he is training well.”

Newcastle head to Arsenal without defender Fabian Schar because of suspension – and not down to the concussion he suffered for Switzerland against Georgia – but that is the only absentee with the exception of long-term casualty Sean Longstaff.

The Gunners have only lost once at the Emirates this season and Benitez has been impressed by the job Unai Emery has done since replacing Arsene Wenger. Arsenal sit fourth in the race for a Champions League spot.

“I know Unai quite well, and I think he’s doing quite well. I think he’s trying to change things a little bit, but still keeping the style that they were playing before,” said Benitez.

“I think in the beginning he was fine, then they had a few problems, but not I think they are doing well, especially at home.

“They have good players, they have a good manager, and so I think they have not the confidence that they are progressing. He is doing well.”

Benitez has often been linked with the Arsenal job, particularly before Emery was appointed.

He said: “At the moment I am here, so I cannot change what is going on. My job now is to concentrate winning against them, that’s it. Unai is doing a good job. Obviously it depends on the targets that they have, but he is doing OK.”