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John Barnes gives his verdict on Islam Slimani coming to Newcastle United

4 years ago

Islam Slimani signed on loan at Newcastle on deadline day and John Barnes has give his opinion on the loan move.

Due to an existing thigh injury when he arrived, Newcastle fans are yet to get a glimpse of the Leicester striker.

However, former Newcastle midfielder John Barnes thinks supporters will be impressed once he gets on the pitch.

After the win over Manchester United, Rafa Benitez revealed that Slimani had been very close to being involved but he had gone with a bit of caution.

No doubt the fact that a two week break followed with no matches, helped the United boss make the decision.

Better to have Islam Slimani available and fully fit for the remaining games (he can only play in 10 of the 11 as one is against Leicester), than run the risk of breaking down.

Barnes says that the striker’s style will impress Newcastle fans as he is ‘a big strong boy…good in the air and is aggressive’.

With only 25 goals so far in 27 league games, it isn’t difficult to spot Newcastle’s biggest weakness.

When Newcastle play at Bournemouth, it will be nine weeks since they last scored more than one goal in a Premier League match and realistically, that can’t continue if Rafa’s team are to pick up the wins needed for survival.

As well as John Barnes opinion, find below some comments from Leicester fans on Islam Slimani back in December, when he was first linked with Newcastle for a January move.

John Barnes speaking to HITC on behalf of Bonus Code Bets.

“I like Islam Slimani.

“He is a number nine, good in the box, good in the air and is aggressive.

Newcastle like their number nines, who play in the box.

At Leicester it didn’t really work out, because they have others that play ahead of him, but he is a big strong boy and the fans will definitely take to him.

“He has got a good goalscoring record and good quality, I think he will really help Newcastle.”

The Mag – 20 December 2017:

Here are comments on the striker from the top Leicester fans message board Foxes Talk:

‘Get rid. Toxic waste of space.

Glad Puel seems to be taking decisive action in binning him.’

‘Yeah time to cash in whilst we can still get some sort of decent return. Not convinced he’ll score many goals for another PL club, missed some absolute sitters for us.

I know the Algerian contingent will come back with his amazing goals to game ratio and that nobody gets a chance because Vardy’s the favourite blah blah blah.’

‘As I’ve consistently said, the bloke is a bad apple – constantly moaning and think he’s big time.

Puel gave him a chance but after the West Ham game where he came on throwing his arms around and gave a free kick away, he decided he’d had enough.

He shall not be missed.’

‘Slim was alright last season and really the only one of the 2016 signings to make any half-decent impact.

The start against Bournemouth back in May though was the game that might have confirmed that it just wasn’t goin to work out long term. Albrighton and Vardy were arguing with him during the game and he missed a good few chances.

Would still view him as a good signing for someone else. He’d be the main man for a team in the bottom half of the league.’

 ‘Puel: “Slimani provides the same option as Ulloa who has worked hard in training sessions. I think Slimani is also working very well in training now. But it is always difficult for me to make assurances with so much competition between the players. I cannot say yet what will happen in the transfer window but it is difficult for me and the staff to manage all these players for the same position.”

Sounds as if Claude thought he lacked commitment at first.

His other comments suggest that he’s inclined to sell.’

‘I certainly wouldn’t express a negative view on Slimani’s attitude myself. When he’s been on the pitch, he has generally looked very committed to me – and I don’t see him in training.

If Puel is not even convinced that he’s going to use Slimani from the bench, I cannot see the point in keeping him. To me, he seems like a good striker – just the wrong sort of striker for the way we play.

It’s probably unfair to him to keep him, if so – and selling him could generate a half-decent sum towards an inbound signing.’

‘He just isn’t very good.

He can’t control a football properly. He can barely pass and even looks uncomfortable just running. Ulloa can hold up play and bring others into the game. The ball just bounces off of Slim.’

‘That’ll be why he had the best assists, goals, chances created and key passes ratio out of all our strikers last year.

He has an incredibly inconsistent touch, and sometimes when his control is bad, it’s REALLY bad. But I’m sorry, you don’t get those ratios if you can’t control the ball at all. It’s an overreaction to some poor moments of control.’

‘No one noticed him storming off the pitch at the end of the league matches in which he did play this season without shaking anyone’s hand or clapping the supporters?

Or the fact that he’s stuck out like a sore thumb for throwing his arms up in the air and shouting at team mates in a team that is generally supportive of each other even when mistakes are made?

And now Puel’s come in and, despite seemingly having been willing to give him a chance at first, is now talking about Ulloa’s attitude/hard work in comparison?

The clues are all there that the guy is pretty toxic around the place because he has the hump that he’s not been playing.’

‘He will score goals at this level if he’s given the chance in a side that sets up for him (4-3-3 with direct wingers).’

‘We spent the best part of £30m on Slimani and for one reason or another he’s failed here. To be able to make a mistake in the transfer market and to be not fully punished for it is a great thing especially when that player will be 30 in six months.’

‘It seems slims told his people to talk to the club about a quick out. This could turn out ugly if we hold out for a price.’

‘I assume we have left slim twiddling his fingers out of match day squads to show him we aren’t bothered about leaving him in limbo.’


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