Atlanta United's Miguel Almiron joins Newcastle in record deal

Newcastle United have confirmed the signing of Atlanta United forward Miguel Almiron for a record amount.

Almiron, 24, has signed for a fee around £20 million ($26m) in a move that surpasses the £16m Newcastle paid for Michael Owen in 2005. The signing is also the highest amount for a Major League Soccer club in history.

"I'm very happy and eager to start and to meet my new teammates," Almiron said. "The league is very competitive, this is a historic club and Rafa Benitez himself were the main reasons why I am here now.

"I think it is a great responsibility, something beautiful for me, and I will try to offer the best I can to repay the trust the club put in me."

Newcastle boss Benitez said: "We were following Miguel for a while and we saw a player with some pace in attack, who can play behind the striker. We have someone who can score goals and give assists.

"We know that MLS is a different challenge to the Premier League but he has the potential to do what we are expecting and what we need."

Sources told ESPN FC on Tuesday the move was nearing completion and Almiron is Newcastle's second signing of the transfer window after the loan signing of Antonio Barreca from Monaco.

The Paraguay international scored 21 goals and had 28 assists in 62 games over two seasons with Atlanta and was a key component of the side that won the MLS Cup for the first time in their history last term, scoring 13 goals in total.

"His impact in MLS had been really good -- he has been one of the best players this year -- and hopefully he can give us more competition and more quality in the final third," Benitez added.

Atlanta United signed South American Footballer of the Year Pity Martinez last week, meaning they had four Designated Players in their squad. Only three Designated Players -- a classification for those making more than $530,000 -- are permitted per side under MLS rules.

The January transfer window closes at 11 p.m. GMT on Thursday.