Tuesday morning has seen reports of Newcastle United having made an approach for Islam Slimani.
Less than two weeks until the transfer window opens and it is claimed Rafa Benitez wants the Leicester City striker to help get the goals to keep Newcastle up.
West Brom have also enquired about the 29 year old forward according to The Mail.
Islam Slimani scored a decent seven Premier League goals last season, considering he only had 13 starts (plus another 10 from the bench). Plus he scored the winner against Porto in the Champions League, starting three games in that competition and on as a sub in another two.
This season though, the Algerian international has only played 117 Premier League minutes, including a single start, not getting on the scoresheet yet, However, he has scored four goals in three League Cup starts, helping Leicester into the quarter-finals and they are at home to Manchester City tonight.
Newcastle were actually first linked with Islam Slimani some three and a half years ago in June 2014, the forward having managed only 10 starts in his first season at Sporting Lisbon. That transfer window was of course the one where with Alan Pardew in charge, NUFC eventually went for the disastrous ‘bargain’ buy of Emmanuel Riviere.
When fighting relegation the last time (22 months ago – see below), it was claimed that Newcastle had made a 20m euros bid for Slimani that was allegedly knocked back by Sporting Lisbon in the January 2016 window, the Magpies instead bringing in Seydou Doumbia on loan…
Only six months later Sporting Lisbon picked up 30m euros as Leicester were desperate to splash the cash after winning the Premier League and having Champions League football to look forward to.
However, as they have continued to invest in their squad, the Foxes have an embarrassment of riches up front, with for example £25m summer signing from Man City, Iheanacho, making only two Premier League starts so far this season.
As for Islam Slimani, he turns 30 in June, so whether on loan or as a buy, would represent a departure from what happened in the summer. Rafa Benitez seemingly blocked from buying older, more experienced players, as he’d done to supplement his squad in the Championship season with the likes of Murphy, Gamez and Diame.
If Newcastle are to get out of trouble then obviously reinforcements are needed in January and the two most obvious and affordable routes to get better quality, would appear to be older players with little/no resale value or loan signings.
As for whether Islam Slimani is the answer for Newcastle…he has a decent goalscoring record and has pace, so playing alongside Dwight Gayle it could be a potentially very good combination.
You would imagine Leicester will be happy to let him go if the deal is right, when they won 3-2 at St James Park this month, Slimani didn’t even make the bench.
The Mag – 1 February 2016:
The craziness of transfer deadline day continues, while speculation is ongoing about a possible Berahino transfer, it is reported in France that Newcastle have had a 20m euros (approx £15.2m) bid for Islam Slimani knocked back.
France Football claim that Sporting Lisbon have rejected the 20m euros bid for the Algerian striker, despite it improving on a reported Everton offer of 18m euros for Islam Slimani.
Newcastle were actually first linked with the striker a year after he arrived at Sporting Lisbon on a free transfer from Belouizdad, who compete in the domestic Algerian league.
He spent much of that first (2013/14) season in Portugal on the bench, scoring eight league goals despite only starting 10 games, plus another 16 as a sub.
In summer 2014 it was claimed Newcastle were interested in the striker who was rated at around £6m, United instead recruiting Emmanuel Riviere, rather than Islam Slimani or any the countless other forwards the club were linked with.
Since then, in 18 months the 27 year old has scored 28 goals in 35 league starts, a remarkable progression for a player who scored 32 in 96 appearances for Belouizdad back in Algerian domestic football.
At international level, Slimani has scored 21 goals in 31 appearances for Algeria, including two in each of his last couple of matches.
Sporting Lisbon are currently two points ahead of Benfica at the top of the table in Portugal and are said to be unwilling to sell, though with the money flying around in English football you never know, if there is indeed substance in the interest from Newcastle or Everton, or any other Premier League club.