Newcastle United have agreed a fee of around £20m for Atlanta United’s Paraguay international Miguel Almiron, shattering the club’s transfer record in the process.

Almiron was identified as manager Rafa Benitez’s first-choice target in this window and it seems the Magpies have finally got their man after a long stand-off with Atlanta over the asking price.

It is a huge breakthrough for the struggling Premier League side and is likely to dramatically increase the chances of Benitez signing a contract extension as he has been calling for this sort of financial backing to be shown.

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The Spaniard had reached the end of his tether over the lack of progress in recruitment this month but this should prove Newcastle do want him to continue as manager beyond the end of the season.

Almiron is set to travel to the UK for a medical this evening, but the deal has plenty of time to go through before Thursday’s deadline.

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Almiron was the driving force behind Atlanta’s MLS Cup triumph last season and is seen as one of the best players to have played in USA’s domestic league.

Newcastle are the only Premier League club not to have broken their transfer record in the last five years, but finally the £16.5m paid for Michael Owen, in 2005, has been bettered. The refusal to pay large fees for players has been one of the main complaints about the way Mike Ashley runs the club.

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Benitez has been desperate to find a player who can play in the vital number 10 role and he will be thrilled to have finally got one.

More importantly, after focusing their attention on foreign loan deals, Ashley has belatedly backed up his promise to support the manager with actions.