Islam Slimani’s Newcastle career looks to be over after being slapped with a three-match ban following an off-the-ball clash with Craig Dawson at the weekend. How should the fans rate the Algerian’s impact?
Much was expected of the Leicester City frontman when he was drafted in on loan during the winter transfer window, with the departing Aleksandr Mitrovic expelled to Fulham. Slimani may have been struggling for game time for the Foxes, but this was a man with a proven European pedigree – having netted 57 in 109 games for Sporting Lisbon, earning him a £29 million move to Leicester.
In truth, Slimani has not been the goalscoring centre-forward the Geordies have been pining for. Having arrived nursing an injury, he’s been restricted to limited game-time and will be remembered for a helpful role in Matt Ritchie’s winning strike against Arsenal but little else.
Had Mitrovic kicked out at Dawson at the weekend, he would have been pilloried from all quarters – with his hot-headed reputation ultimately having rendered him unfit for Benitez’ plans. The Spaniard clearly values cool heads, as shown by his hardened stance towards Jonjo Shelvey’s antics at the start of the season.
Leicester have apparently quoted the club upwards of £20 million for the player – if this loan spell was supposed to be an audition in convincing Mike Ashley to make him the club’s most expensive ever signing, I’m pretty sure Slimani’s lunge was the equivalent of forgetting his lines.