With rumors swirling that Aleksandar Mitrovic could be headed for the door on Tyneside, Newcastle reportedly has its eye on a replacement.
Leicester City striker Islam Slimani is a name we’ve all heard for a long time. Since the beginning of December, Newcastle has been rumored to be interested in signing him.
Chelsea are also linked to Slimani, but seeing as they are linked with every striker that has two working feet, I wouldn’t put much stock in it. Watford are apparently tracking the striker’s availability as well.
The potential signing of Slimani represents some much-needed changes for the Magpies. In order to bring in the Algerian forward, Newcastle would likely need to break its long-standing transfer record. While that is refreshing to hear considering how notoriously cheap Mike Ashley has been during his tenure, I’m not positive that Slimani is the right player to break the record for.
I recognize that pretty much any quality player that is going to help us avoid relegation is going to require the club to break that record. The record for those who are not familiar is the 16 million fee Newcastle paid for Michael Owen back in 2005.
The reason I hesitate is because Slimani is not all that promising. At 29, his best days as a footballer are likely behind him. He has made 35 Premier League appearances for Leicester, accounting for eight goals and five assists. Only one of those goals has come this season.
What appeals many fans is what Slimani was two years ago in Portugal, when he scored 27 goals in 31 league appearances for Sporting. He fits well into a system focused on launching long passes over the top, similar to how Rafa Benitez has structured the team. There is no doubt that he would be a fit, the question is whether he would produce.
Newcastle need to find a proven goal scorer in the Premier League for this season. Joselu is the club’s leading league scorer with just four goals to his name. That is tied for 38th.
Slimani does not inspire much confidence in me that the Magpies have made the right move to necessitate breaking the transfer record or give them the spark needed to stave off relegation.
Hopefully, the club will look elsewhere to fill the obvious hole it has up top.
However, if they do bring him in, then welcome to club and be ready to work. Once he is a Magpie, he will have my full support.
In Rafa We Trust
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