According to reports, Newcastle United are now eyeing a move for Leicester City’s fringe forward Islam Slimani as Rafael Benitez goes into the last week of the transfer window with large voids to fill. The Algerian international hasn’t really reached the expectations with which Claudio Ranieri had bought him last summer and with Jamie Vardy and Shinji Okazaki leading the line now, he could well seek chances elsewhere.
However, the biggest problem would be that of his transfer fee. The Foxes had to splurge a whopping £29 million to land him from Portuguese side Sporting CP as a very late signing in August 2016. And even if the Foxes do wish to sell him in the next few days, they would want to recoup the amount that they had paid for him.
Newcastle coach Rafael Benitez and club owner Mike Ashley aren’t in the best of terms at the moment with financial strains, which means that the Spaniard will have to dispose some players before getting in any more major arrivals, and he has to do this fast. The process has already started with Emmanuel Riviere sold to Metz of late, while Siem de Jong’s move to Dutch side Ajax is expected to be completed soon.
Newcastle would need a huge amount to tempt Leicester into selling their striker as although unproven so far, Slimani has quality in front of the goal. He had a good start to the Premier League last term where he scored 11 goals and five assists in all competitions before a mid-term injury made things worse. The managerial change and poor results didn’t help this cause either as he was soon removed from the good books of the managers.
He was directly involved in only three goals in the last 10 games of the season and soon moved out of the first team. This season too, he played just one game from the bench before impressing in the EFL Cup with a brace. However, Craig Shakespeare could yet bring out the best in him as the 29-year-old has all the ingredients to excel in the league.
The 188cm centre forward is excellent in finishing from the unlikeliest of chances and also possesses the perfect eye for providing key passes in the attacking third. His dominating presence in the aerial duels also makes him a perfect candidate to have in one’s side week in week out in the Premier League. His tireless work rate also makes him comfortable to work with and Benitez’s side could really flourish with someone like him up front.