A fan written piece by Aidan Brown whose had the following to say about NUFC new-boy Islam Slimani – the Newcastle United new-boy who could be set to make his first appearance for the club against Man Utd on Sunday:
By Aidan Brown
A £29 million pound signing from Sporting Lisbon in the summer of 2015 sounds like a pretty good player on paper. But who exactly is Islam Slimani and what can he offer to his new team, Newcastle United, on the pitch?
Well let’s start off with the basics. A 6ft 2in striker out of Algeria who has previously been described as a “predator” in the box by his peers and former manager. Scoring almost 60 goals in just just over 100 appearances in the Portugal is quite an impressive record, even if some will question the quality of record the league.
Since then he has moved to Leicester for a club record £29 million, however he has struggled to hit those heights in England.
He had a bright start to his Premier League campaign opening up with a brace on his debut. After striking up a strong partnership with the fellow Algerian Riyhad Mahrez, the fans were so king to give them the nickname of ‘Slimarez’. Things were looking good for the striker at the time, although a sudden thigh injury left him out the squad for a period of time. Since then he has been in and out of the side with Shinji Okazaki cementing his place in the starting 11 and then Claude Puel having a strict mindset of playing just one up top – which was always going to be Jamie Vardy on recent form.
Having said that, he’s often contributed when given a chance. In 15 starts for the Foxes over the past 2 years he has scored 8 goals and bagged 5 assists, but some of these have been from his further 20 appearances off the bench.
Since Claude Puel has taken over, however, Leicester he has implemented the one striker system which has left 6 strikers to fight for one spot in the starting lineup. With the World Cup just around the corner, 3 strikers have taken their leave form the club all be it on a temporary basis. This being Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow), Leonardo Ulloa (Brighton) and of course Islam Slimani (Newcastle United). Even £25m signing Kelechi Iheanacho has struggled to get a look in since arriving in the summer.
So what can the Algerian born striker actually bring to a struggling Newcastle United side?
Well, he is not short of goals. His past record shows he knows where the goal is, having scored 32 goals in the 2015/2016 campaign for Sporting Lisbon just before his switch to the Premier League. He won’t shy away from a battle either, knowing how to rustle up a few feathers in defences. He is known to be excellent in the air with 5 of the 8 goals for Leicester coming from headers and a predator in the box, with 7 of those 8 coming inside of the 18 yard box.
There is no doubt in my mind that he’ll produce the good if the service from the likes of Ritchie, Atsu, Murphy and Kennedy is up to scratch.
My only lingering doubts are around his fitness. In his first season at the King Power Stadium he managed to pick up 3 Injuries missing a total of 61 days – and he’s also arrived with a minor thigh injury. It’s not an immediate problem, with him being set to feature on Sunday, but we can’t afford for it to become a reoccurring issue.
All in all though, I feel we’ve got a very good striker on our hands between now and the end of the season. Keep him fit and give him the service and he’ll fire us to safety.