NEWCASTLE UNITED are seeking clarification from the Premier League over whether they will have to release Miguel Almiron for international duty next month – and potentially run the risk of the forward being unavailable for two matches because of an enforced period of quarantine.

Almiron is due to travel to South America to represent Paraguay in World Cup qualifiers against Chile and Colombia, with the first game due to take place in the Chilean capital, Santiago, and the second due to be staged in Asuncion in Paraguay.

Both Chile and Paraguay are on the Government’s red list of countries contained within the latest coronavirus regulations, which means anyone arriving in the UK having been in either country in the previous ten days must immediately begin a ten-day quarantine period in a Government-approved hotel. Unlike with some previous coronavirus rules, there are no exemptions for elite sport.

Therefore, if Almiron was to fly to South American next month, he would be unavailable for Newcastle’s Premier League games against Burnley and Tottenham, both of which would fall within his quarantine period.

A FIFA exemption exists that might allow clubs to prevent players from attending international duty if they would be subject to an extended period of quarantine on their return, but Newcastle have asked the Premier League to clarify whether that rule applies in this case.

“We sincerely hope he won’t have to miss any games for us,” said Magpies manager Steve Bruce. “I think we’re going to have to be guided by the Premier League and what they suggest and say. It’s a ludicrous situation really, although we are aware that they are World Cup qualifiers.

“It’s that awful balancing act, but we are in a worldwide pandemic and we’ll be guided by the authorities. We’ll look to the Premier League and try to get assurances from them over what is actually required and what is not.”

The Premier League is also likely to issue guidance over next month’s scheduled European World Cup qualifiers, with a number of Newcastle players currently due to be involved in matches scattered across the continent.

Different countries currently have different coronavirus rules, some of which do not apply to elite sportspeople, but some of which could prove much more difficult to circumvent.

Almiron’s position is especially delicate as Callum Wilson’s extended absence because of a hamstring injury means Newcastle cannot afford to lose any more of their attacking options.

Almiron formed a three-pronged attack with Allan Saint-Maximin and Dwight Gayle during Monday’s defeat at Chelsea, and while the Magpies did not exactly carry much of an attacking threat at Stamford Bridge, the line-up is likely to remain unchanged for tomorrow night’s trip to Manchester United.

Andy Carroll is an alternative option as the central striker, but while Gayle was little more than a bystander for long periods at Chelsea, the fact he was making his first start of the season has to be factored into any assessment of his performance.

“It was always going to be difficult for Dwight,” said Bruce. “We’re aware it was his first game. At the start of the season, Dwight had a knee operation, and unfortunately that’s been an issue with too many of our players.

“We knew it was going to be a difficult ask for Dwight, but he stuck at it and got 65 minutes under his belt. We always know he can score a goal, and he’s got some minutes under his belt now, which can only help.”

Gayle is one of a number of senior players whose contracts are due to expire in the summer, and regardless of what happens over the remainder of the campaign, it is hard to envisage the 30-year-old being retained on his current terms.

A handful of players signed new long-term deals in the first half of the season, but talks over any more new contracts are likely to remain on hold.

“There’s a number of players who have contracts up, and Dwight is one of them,” said Bruce. “I’m sure there’ll be conversations to be had."