Rafa Benitez wasn’t happy when Algeria called up Islam Slimani, despite the striker not having being fit to play since the middle of January.

The Newcastle boss saying last weekend (see below) that ‘It is not ideal but we cannot stop them or stop him playing.’

He also expressed the hope that Algeria would only play him in the friendlies if he was fully fit.

Today (Thursday), Algeria took on Tanzania and beat them 4-1, Islam Slimani didn’t start the game and neither did he come on as a substitute.

All eyes then turned to the next game for Algeria, which is a friendly against Iran next Tuesday (27 March).

Breaking news on Thursday night from DZ Football, who specialise in covering Algerian football, is that Islam Slimani, as well as Yacine Brahimi, have already been ruled out of that game through injury.

Whilst Rafa Benitez will be relieved that no risks have been taken with the Newcastle striker, it must be a concern that Algeria are reported to have ruled the player out through injury, fully five days before the match.

Newcastle play Huddersfield only four days after that Algeria game against Iran, so only a very big optimist would be thinking Slimani has any chance of being involved in that relegation clash.

With no minutes on the pitch so far for Newcastle and only a maximum of seven matches that he could potentially play in (including Huddersfield), fans will wonder whether Islam Slimani will ever pull on a black and white shirt.

The Mag – 17 March 2018:

Rafa Benitez is in a difficult position with Islam Slimani, having ruled the player out of playing against Royal Antwerp in Newcastle’s friendly on Sunday.

The United boss desperate for the striker to give him extra goal threat in the remaining games of the relegation fight.

However, now stuck in a club v country clash where he is powerless to dictate matters.

Rafa has explained on Saturday how they have to take it very careful with Slimani’s return but accepts there is nothing he can do if Algeria play the striker regardless and/or if Islam Slimani himself just decides to have a game.

Algeria play Tanzania in a friendly on Thursday (22 March) and that will be over nine weeks since Slimani played any football.

Five days later (against Iran on Tuesday 27 March) they play once again, four days before Newcastle take on Huddersfield in the Premier League.

Rafa Benitez speaking to Matthew Raisbeck of BBC Newcastle:

Islam Slimani had the problem before and we thought he was fine, and he was telling us he was fine.

“He was pushing himself a little bit and still he was not fully fit.

“We needed to be cautious, so we went back, started again – slowly – just in case.

(Rafa Benitez on the position with Islam Slimani and Algeria):

“It is not ideal but we cannot stop them or stop him playing.

“At the same time, we want to him to play to be sure he’s a little bit better if he has to play against Huddersfield.

“He is progressing.

“Our medical stuff are talking with the medical staff of his national team.

“Hopefully, he will progress in the days ahead and we will see if he can play some minutes there (for Algeria).”

  • Paul Patterson

    He will play a maximum of 30 minutes in total for us this season.
    If we beat Huddersfield I make us safe, so pack him back off to Leicester.

    • Kev

      He can’t be ‘packed off’ to Leicester.
      Their are no short term loans now…the system means he is a Newcastle player (wages and all) until the end of the season.

      • Paul Patterson

        Yes, but you can terminate the loan..

        • Kev

          A loan can only be terminated upon full agreement between both clubs and the player.
          Fifa insisted on this being implemented.
          Leicester are unlikely to agree to this and nor is the player.

          • Paul Patterson

            Which idiot thought that would be a good clause to put into a loan contract? Well he’s no use to us . .

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            FIFA’s loan rules. If he scores any this season he’ll have been of use.

  • Dillon Tovak

    Great signing guys 👍

    • Jezza

      It was certainly a great signing for Ashley because it hasn’t cost a penny.

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        And how do you work that out? we’re paying his salary.

        • Keeganontherebound

          Who says he’s not on a pay as you play deal and it just hasn’t been made public?

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Who said he was and why would Leicester consider that to be a good deal?

          • Keeganontherebound

            Well if he isn’t then it turns out that Ashley isn’t even very good at penny pinching if he’s happy to bring in injured players on loan and pay their salaries…Either he is on a pay as you play deal or we’re paying his wages and he’s still not kicked a ball for us after two months. Either way, this is the sort of thing that doesn’t happen at normal clubs.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Players get injured, we obviously under-estimated the injury or it’s possible that we start paying when his injury has cleared up.

            Why do some of our so called supporters want him to fail, I’m not just pointing the finger at you but many on here are willing the lad to fail. Personally, I want him to thrive, enjoy it and want to move permanently.

  • Mrkgw

    Beyond a joke this.

  • Tino o

    Siem de jongs replacement has been found

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Master stroke by the Great Fat One, sign a striker to placate the plebs with just a very minor injury (2 weeks quote) pay as you play mate.
    2 months on he`s still out and i don`t think we`ll get a full 90 mins out of him this season.
    lets see how the hoop licker`s excuse this one.
    enter stage left the idiot from Monkseaston

    • ghostrider

      If my memory serves me correct it was you people that were excited over Slimani.
      As far as I’m concerned Rafa already messed up way earlier in the season with Mitrovic but went much better in messing up by loaning him out to Fulham in favour of getting this mercenary.

      However, the good part of it is, we didn’t actually buy Slimani, because Ashley’s no fool in January, unlike many owners.

      It seems we had a dilemma….or Rafa did. Basically he caused his own dilemma with Mitrovic but hinged his January mind on a player called Jorgensen who was basically struggling in the Dutch league, with people whining about Ashley not willing to pay 20 million for basically a panic buy that (in my opinion) couldn’t lace Mitrovic’s boots.

      I’d rather Slimani stayed in Algeria and sunned himself up and never set foot back in Newcastle ever again.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose


        • Danimal

          You got the understudy, do you feel a bit short changed?

      • Keeganontherebound

        That’s right and Rafa was stupid enough to go after this guy called Dubravka who was only playing in the Czech league. In your opinion there was also probably no chance he was going to be an improvement on the ‘keepers we already had. Some of us were pleased when Slimani signed because we assumed even under Ashley we might actually be getting a centre-forward who might make it onto the pitch before the end of the season. The problem is not Slimani. The problem is having an owner who won’t invest in players and who pulls this sort of stunt.

        • ghostrider

          We’re talking about buying an injured player and many fans thought it was great business because Rafa done the deal….or is it Ashley’s fault seeing as he’s still injured?
          Maybe Rafa will get the accolades if Slimani gets a game and scores one or two, eh?

          Best to cover your tracks in all ways with players like Slimani.

          • Keeganontherebound

            It’s Ashley’s fault for not backing the best manager we’ve had since SBR and bringing in his top target when we were staring relegation in the face.

          • ghostrider

            He has been backed.
            What you mean is, he hasn’t been given a few hundred million to compete at the top.
            If not then tell me what money he should have had and where he should be competing at in our first season back in the premier league with all the players he previously bought.
            Let’s see your explanation.

          • Keeganontherebound

            We’ve spent less on buying players than we’ve brought in in sales since being relegated. Normal clubs don’t expect to re-establish themselves in the premiership without investing. Any reasonable person can see that.

          • ghostrider

            What does establish yourselves mean in this day and age of football, in the premier league? Because I don’t see teams establishing anything. I see them all trying to keep up with the Jones’s.

            In the days gone by, establishing yourselves in a league would mean having a strong structure throughout as well as tinkering with your team as seasons go by to ensure you st least stay established.

            You see, if you take a look at the league table you will see that half of the league is cut off from the so called established teams.
            So what does this mean?
            To me, it means that having a few seasons in the premier league does not constitute being established when we all know that in any season any club under the elite clubs can go down.
            That’s the reality we are looking at.

            The reality of what is happening right now is building a team to have a go in the premier league and the hope that it can be sustained with a bit of luck that the player snatching clubs don’t rob you blind when you try to make a bit of headway in the league.

            Investing is meaningless for most clubs. It really means little, unless the club is investing in survival. I9f this is called establishing then so be it, because that’s about all it can be in the day and age of digital money passed off as real that only the powers that be dictate the digital share out of.

            I’ll give one simple case of many about so called establishing that isn’t reality anymore.
            I’ve argued and better argued with many fans on their hatred of so called devil Ashley and how we should follow Southampton’s Model, because they know how to run a football club.

            It seems they do and they don’t. See what I mean?
            All that build up each season to ESTABLISH themselves and where are they?
            This isn’t an argument against you, it’s an argument from my side.

          • Keeganontherebound

            We are following Southampton’s model: selling valuable players and replacing them with cheaper versions. It looks like it could well bite them on the backside this season and it will happen to us again if we stick to the same strategy.

          • ghostrider

            Which valuable players have we sold that didn’t already want out?

          • Keeganontherebound

            That’s not the point. The point is the money has not been reinvested in the first team.

          • ghostrider

            It has been reinvested. How do you think it hasn’t.
            How about telling me what’s what?
            I think you may be getting mixed up with reinvestment and wanting Ashley’s personal pocket money added in.
            If not then explain.

          • Keeganontherebound

            All reputable sources suggest that since Rafa arrived we have received more in transfer fees (30m for Sissoko for starters…) than we have paid out. I’m not sure what you want me to explain. Most people know and ackowledge this. We went down and have not even managed to stand still in terms of first team squad investment. Now either that is clear enough for you or I’m going to conclude that others on here are right and that you are a troll whose sole aim is to wind people up.

          • ghostrider

            Is it possible to b e relegated and come back up as champions without investment in players?
            As bad as Ashley seems to be with some, he’s taken (arguably) calculated gambles to try and gain for himself and ultimately the club, because you do not gain on one and lose on the other if they work hand in hand.

            His gambles were not handsomely successful but being calculated they allowed for a contingency plan each time and is the very reason we are still a premier league club 11 years into his tenure.

            You cite 30 million for Sissoko and that’s basically it, so tell me something and be honest. Did you want to keep Sissoko after what he done?
            Did you think 30 million was simply impossible to turn down when you consider we paid about 3 million for him?

            Here’s something for you.
            Which player did we bring in to cover Sissoko’s position and do you think the player is worth more to us than he is in terms of what you gain on the field and off it?

  • kingfisher

    Does anyone think that a Manager of Rafas ability would have signed the crock Slimani if there had been any other option? If Ashley had kept his promise that he made to Rafa after we won promotion, and gave him adequate funds to compete in the Prem ,then Slimani wouldn’t have had a snowball in hells chance of coming to nufc.

    Just more lies by Ashley, and the sooner we get an owner who actually cares for the club and supporters the better !

    • Dillon Tovak

      No sane person believes that, the nause brigade will paint him as a “Rafa signing” however.

  • Wor Lass

    I`m glad the Algeria thing`s done and dusted but what a load of fuss over nothing. I mean, how dare they request their own player turn up for assessment and how dare he want to go and support his national team? Does anyone on here actually know what sort of deal Slimani was signed on? Surely the Great Satan isn`t daft enough to sign a crocked player on a normal pay deal – he has to be on some sort of “pay for play” arrangement. If so, he`s played a blinder by appearing to sign a half-decent striker while managing to avoid any drain on the coffers. The numpties on here banging on about him picking up his massive wages for nothing and just taking the p*ss are looking at the wrong person to blame. Mind, the abuse he`s had is nothing compared to what Danny Ings got for having the audacity to decline our offer and stay at 3rd-placed Liverpool and fight to get back in the team. Some of the comments about him at the time were embarrassing. I notice he played in last weekend`s game.

    • TheNutJob

      pity we didn`t get Ings

      • Rich Lawson

        Yes it is,but I seem to think the suggestion by myself and others was murdered on here at the time ? At least he would actually be available for selection,if he had wanted to come !!

      • Wor Lass

        After Giroud, he was my no 1 pick for January. He`s a good player.

    • Dillon Tovak

      Didn’t he miss a sitter though? Fluffed his two minutes. He really should have gone on loan…somewhere. He’s wasting his career because he just isn’t Liverpool standard.

      • Wor Lass

        I don`t agree with you there, Dillon. He may not be first 11 but he`s forced his way back into Klopp`s match-day squad in a top 3 team so he must be there or thereabouts. The “sitter” was well saved. He`ll be disappointed not to have put it away but it`s probably down to match sharpness.

        • Dillon Tovak

          Well good luck to him, but if I were him I’d be selfish as it’s a short career and become a starter for another club. Fair play that he backs himself to force his way in though.

    • Keeganontherebound

      The Slimani signing is indeed looking more and more like a PR exercise by the day. Pretty sure nothing is in the public domain re the terms of his contract.

  • Billy Ellwood

    Those of us who remember Woodgate and his long long thigh injury didn’t have much hope that Slimani would be just a two week job.
    We’ve no idea whose picking his big salary – doesnt mean a thing anyway.
    As long as we stay up and get a worthy buyer in the summer. Otherwise the pain keeps going.

  • thewildchimp

    So, what’s the good news? That he didn’t play for Algeria and injured himself further? Maybe, but we have one of the two crucial matches coming up next and he won’t take part in it. He would need at least two matches to regain fitness, so we can expect significant contribution from him against West Brom and Watford at best. The rest of the matches would only serve as marketing for Slimani. Sure, if he might help nick a point here and there – why not – but at this point we can just let Joselu and Gayle finish this season (or us) off.

  • Viru leckworth

    There’s more to this injury than meets the eye. Methinks we ave been duped by Leicester.