Islam Slimani (Transfermarkt Value: £22.50m)
According to the Chronicle, Newcastle have made an approach to sign 29-year old Islam Slimani of Leicester City. The striker has been relegated to the 4th choice striker after being brought in from Sporting CP for £29m in 2016.
Slimani has 10 league appearances this season and 30 overall, primarily as a sub, and has gotten a few starts in the Caraboa cup , where he is the team’s leading scorer. Slimani has 4 goals across all appearances this season (all of which came from his 3 Caraboa Cup starts) and is looking to, of course, add to that tally.
The Algerian striker currently sees himself behind newboy Kelechi Iheanacho, Shinji Okazaki and Jamie Vardy. Given that he is receiving minimal play time at Leicester, it makes sense for Slimani to leave for a place where he is guaranteed regular first team minutes. Newcastle seem to be an option, going in for a loan deal given the current state of the club’s finances. Leicester would rather offload the striker for at least what they have paid for him, but that does not seem likely given the hefty price tag for someone his age.
Slimani’s play style is similar to that of Mitrovic and Joselu, a target man that can hold up the ball. Slimani is known for being a bit unselfish at times, often looking to hold up the ball and release it to a teammate who is in a good attacking position. Unlike Mitrovic and Joselu, Slimani has a little bit of pace and could actually be useful on some counter attacks. His pace is not anywhere near the likes of Vardy, Iheanacho and Okazaki, which is why he has not made many appearances for a club that is so good on the counter. He does, however fit into Rafa’s Centre Forward role, as he is excellent at holding up the ball and is great in the air. If Rafa can pull this off, Newcastle fans will rejoice because it surely means the end of Joselu’s tenure in the starting 11.
Dimitri Oberlin (Transfermarkt Value: £2m)
The Sun, as well as many other outlets including Transfermarkt, reported just before Christmas that Newcastle could be considering a move for Swiss youngster Dimitri Oberlin.
The 20-year old striker, is a product of Red Bull Salzburg who is currently on loan with Swiss Club FC Basel. The Red Bull teams have of course produced some great talents such as Timo Werner, Naby Keita and Sadio Mane, with Rafa possibly thinking he may have located the next big star. It is thought that the loan to Basel could be terminated in order for RB Salzburg to sell the player to Newcastle, and that is looking more and more likely as it appears that Tottenham have also shown interest in purchasing the player.
Newcastle is not Tottenham, which could work to their advantage when negotiating with a young talent like Oberlin who surely would want playing time. Newcastle need strikers, and he is one. Oberlin has a better chance of playing first team football with a club desperate for strikers rather than a club with england’s golden boy Harry Kane as their main striker. The main obstacle in this transfer is going to be funding for the sale. As of now, it has still been reported the Rafa has no idea what his budget is going to look like for this window, and that is an issue even though this move does not look to be an expensive one. Wage budget, as we are finding out more and more each day, was a huge issue this summer that restricted Newcastle from obtaining players and that issue could rear its ugly head again in this window depending on the status of the club’s sale.
Oberlin, is a pacey guy that is absolutely lethal on the counter attack. In a perfect Rafa world he is the yin to the yang that is a target man who can hold up the ball. The best thing, however, about Oberlin is that he is a young guy who is still developing yet has shown composure in big moments. He has been able to perform in the Champion’s league this season, despite being only 20-years-old. This goal against Benfica demonstrates his speed and composure (hint he’s the really fast guy).
Did I mention he was fast?
Kenedy (Transfermarkt Value: £6.3m)
The Kenedy rumor has once again surfaced, but it looks like this time it could actually happen. The loan deal was one that was rumored in the summer, but blocked because Conte reportedly planned on using the youngster this season. That has not panned out, and Newcastle look to be pursuing the 21-year old Brazilian again this window.
Currently reports are all over the place to whether or not the deal has been secured or rejected. With some sources, like the Daily Mail, saying the deal has been agreed upon and the Evening standard saying the deal is conditional on whether or not Chelsea find a replacement for him in the window. On top of that, Antonio Conte has been really unclear as to whether he is looking to buy or sell players in this window. All of it is confusing, but the one thing that has been confirmed is the resurging interest from Rafa Benitez and his staff.
Kenedy of course is a pacey player who can play all along the left hand side of the pitch. He’s been featured mostly as a winger or wingback, but also can play as a Left Back which is likely where Rafa would play him.
The largest kink in this transfer, is reported interest that Russian Club Lokomotiv Moscow are also keen on bringing in the youngster on loan. This could sway Chelsea to loan him out to Russia, because of the simple fact that Lokomotiv is not a direct competitor of Chelsea.
Cenk Tosun (Transfermarkt Value: £9.45m)
The latest update in the Cenk saga is that he has signed with Everton for a transfer fee of roughly £25m, which is a few million over the evaluation that Besiktas reportedly gave teams . Many Turkish fans think that Everton have made an excellent signing, and it should be interesting to see how he pans out in the Premier League
That is all for this week, be sure to check in with us on Facebook and Twitter (@ComingHomeNUFC) for all the hot takes concerning Newcastle United.