Tony Pulis had a dream start to his new Premier League season as the Baggies managed to get all three points from their trip to the Selhurst Park at the weekend. Salomon Rondon’s thumping header was enough for West Brom to down the Eagles who were not at their best on the day. With the weekend done and dusted, Pulis has once again swooped into the transfer market for further additions to his squad. And recent reports suggest that they are lining up a £21m bid for Sporting Lisbon attacker Islam Slimani.
The Algerian international scored 32 goals in all competitions for the Portuguese outfit last season and is has been on the radar of the likes of Leicester City, Swansea and Everton. But it is now understood that the Baggies may be able to land him this summer. Here is our SWOT analysis for the 28-year old.
The Algerian international started his youth career at MC Oran before moving to JSM Cheraga and then to CR Belouizdad all the while scoring at an impressive rate of goals per game. He made his debut for his national side only in 2012 and has made 43 appearances for them till date. In this time, he grew on to become the 5th highest goal scorer for his country. He moved to Sporting, back in 2013, and has ever since scored 56 goals in 107 games in all competitions for the Portuguese giants making him one of the most consistent goal-scorers in Europe.
A strong striker with a unique ability with the ball, Slimani is a one of the very few strikers who are comfortable in the air and also on the ground. He is dominating in the air and has an air time that can make NBA professionals jealous. He is aggressive and never backs down from a challenge while his pace and dribbling abilities are also decent. He is comfortable in possession of the ball and is an attacking minded player who looks to score every opportunity he gets. His biggest strength, as already mentioned, is scoring headers but his positioning sense and finishing abilities make him a ‘one of a kind’ striker.
Though a striker is not expected to defend too much, Slimani hardly knows anything about defense. He can put himself around to hold the opposition but he is far from a reliable player when his team needs to defend in packs. His crossing is also something he should improve on along with his range of passing (although he is a striker and crossing won’t be too much of a say while he plays). He is a player who does not try too many things but he will need to have everything in his armory if he wants his move to the Premier League to be successful.
Having scored at such a good rate for most of his career, it was about time that the 28-year old made a move to one of the best league in Europe. Tony Pulis, the manager of West Brom, wants to get him to the Hawthorns this summer to add to his attack and is expected to give Slimani a place in the starting XI alongside Salomon Rondon in attack.
Though the difference in quality in the leagues will take its toll the player, Slimani is now experienced enough to adjust quickly and if he can impress the manager in England, he can surely improve his reputation in years to come.
As already mentioned, a move to the English Premier League can be a boon as well as a curse. The expectations that come along with a place in a Premier League side is huge. He will reportedly make a £21m move to the Hawthorns, which is massive money. That will add enough pressure on the 28-year old to effect his game.