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Time is running out for Islam Slimani to earn permanent Newcastle United stay

The Algerian has made just one appearance in a Newcastle United shirt.

Jake Jackman

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Photo: Getty Images

Islam Slimani hasn’t had the desired impact since joining Newcastle United with the Algerian international managing to play only 16 minutes for the first-team. The 29-year-old has struggled with injuries initially and then was forced to sit out of last weekend’s win over parent club Leicester City. This leaves him with only six matches to prove his quality and earn a long-term stay at St James’ Park.

On deadline day, it was thought that Slimani could potentially be the player to save Newcastle from relegation considering his reputation. He is a striker that has played at the highest level and once cost a reported £29 million in the transfer market. However, the Magpies have managed to climb to safety without him and they are now on course for a top-half finish.

The team’s recent good form won’t help Slimani as Rafa Benitez has previously been reluctant to change with a winning team. Newcastle have won their last three Premier League fixtures with the same unchanged team and it would be a risk for the manager to bring his loan striker in this weekend as it could have a negative impact on the team.

One hope for Slimani is that the current starting striker, Dwight Gayle, has failed to score in any of his last four matches and has missed several good chances during that period. He was a revelation in the Championship last season, but a return of five Premier League goals is a concern for Newcastle. If the club have ambition to push on and establish themselves as a top ten team, they need a striker who can score consistently.

(Photo by Lindsey Parnaby/Getty Images)

Although Slimani didn’t have the desired impact at Leicester City, he managed to impact matches when he was on the field. The Algerian international was involved in a goal every 117 minutes in the Premier League. Considering his limited game time and his problems adapting to the counter-attacking style of the Foxes, this is very impressive and shows why Benitez was keen to bring him to St James’ Park.

The striker may not have long left to prove himself at Newcastle, but the team’s safe position in the league table will allow him to play without pressure and that is a good thing for him. Slimani can focus on showing what he can do and the freedom should help him to express himself. The final six matches will be a showcase of his ability to the Magpies and the rest of Europe, with a permanent move away from Leicester needed in the summer.

His time on Tyneside has been frustrating to date, but he offered hope with his cameo against Huddersfield Town. Slimani’s presence in the final third indirectly led to the winning goal, as the defenders didn’t deal with a cross properly with their focus being on the Algerian international. He offers a more physical option than Gayle and that is why he was targeted by the club.

With matches against Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea to play before the season ends, there will be opportunities for Slimani to show off his hold-up play and aerial ability. It is up to him to prove that he deserves a permanent move to the club. Time is against him, but Benitez will give him every opportunity to make his case.

Jake is a journalist based in the South East. He is a Newcastle United fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

Everton

Everton have Lucas Digne bid accepted, a player Jurgen Klopp wanted in 2016

The French left-back has been the subject of a £22m bid from Everton.

Mathew Nash

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It appears that Everton have identified the left-back they want to sign this summer. Lucas Digne has been linked with the club in recent days. Now, according to the Mirror, Everton have agreed a £22 million fee with his club Barcelona.

Everton want a long-term replacement for Leighton Baines but decided against first-choice Kieran Tierney due to Celtic’s asking price for the Scotland international. Now Digne appears to be the first-choice.

This is not the first time that Digne has had the chance to head to Merseyside. In the summer of 2016, it was reported that Liverpool were after the Frenchman.

(Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

The Mirror reported that Liverpool made an enquiry for the player in July 2016. But he headed to Barcelona instead. The Catalan club paid £13.8 million to sign the player from PSG, with Liverpool missing out.


“PSG already had an offer from a good English team but when we got in touch with the manager [he] told us that the player only wanted to come to Barcelona.”

-Barcelona technical secretary Robert Fernandez after signing Digne


The Reds ended up playing James Milner at left-back that season, before signing Andrew Robertson a year ago.

Things have worked out for Liverpool, with Robertson a star player last term.

But Everton will love to bring in a player that Liverpool wanted just two years ago.

Digne, who thrived at Lille before struggling to break into the first-team at both PSG and Barcelona, also enjoyed an excellent loan spell at Roma in 2015-16.

With 21-caps for France and at only 25-years-old Everton will be getting a great player if Digne arrives. In an added bonus, a little burn on their local rivals will only make the deal sweeter.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Fresh Erik Lamela could be key for Tottenham Hotspur next season

Tottenham Hotspur will hope the Argentine can remain fit this season.

Mathew Nash

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Tottenham Hotspur secured the long-term future of two first-team regulars this weekend, with Heung-min Son and Erik Lamela both signing new deals.

It has certainly not been plain sailing for either player during their time in North London. After a disappointing first season, the South Korean was nearly sold back to Germany. Lamela, on the other hand, has had to battle several injury and personal problems.

Signed in the wake of Gareth Bale’s exit to Real Madrid the Argentine became Tottenham’s record signing. Spurs paid Roma £30 million for the player in the summer of 2013.

But despite showing his best at times for Spurs and become a cult hero with one section of Tottenham fans, injuries have blighted him.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

There was back trouble first and then a hip problem. The latter kept him out of action for over a year.

After returning to action in November he started just seven Premier League games but this season could be huge for the 26-year-old.

He has already impressed in pre-season, netting a hat-trick against Southend United. After a bit-part 2017-18 season which saw Lamela nursing his way back into first-team football, he will be fully fit this term.

Fresh, fit and with the bit between his teeth Tottenham could have a different beast on their hands with Lamela this term.

Hopefully, he can discover the form he showcased in the 2015-16 campaign.

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Brighton and Hove Albion

Alireza Jahanbakhsh would be a statement of intent for Brighton

Jake Jackman

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Photo: Getty Images

Brighton and Hove Albion could be set to sign Alireza Jahanbakhsh as Chris Hughton looks to add another winger to his squad, according to The Argus. The Seagulls have already signed seven players during this close season, with the likes of Yves Bissouma, Bernardo, Florin Andone and Leon Balogun signing among others.

Hughton has wasted no time this summer and that is important if the club continues progressing in the Premier League. The previous seasons highlight the importance of being proactive, as those clubs that aren’t are often involved in relegation battles. Brighton’s main priority will be to stay up, but they are showing ambition and that should be commended.

Their signings to date have been impressive and show the scouting network in place at the club. However, Jahanbakhsh would be the headline arrival if he does arrive at the Amex Stadium.

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

The Iranian winger has been one of the standout players in the Eredivisie in recent years and he has the potential to be an exciting capture for a Premier League team. He showed flashes of his talent during the World Cup with Iran and he is now ready to test himself at a higher level.

Last season, he finished as the Eredivisie top scorer with 21 goals with one coming every 135 minutes in the competition. In addition to that, he contributed 12 assists and was regularly causing problems for opposition defences.

His feats are even more impressive considering he wasn’t playing for one of the top two teams. That said, his performances allowed AZ Alkmaar to finish above Feyenoord who had won the league as recently as the 2016/17 campaign.

The 24-year-old delivered consistency in the Eredivisie with 4.3 shots, 3.4 dribbles and 2.4 key passes. They are huge attacking numbers and underline the quality that he does possess. Although it is unlikely that he could reproduce these with a team like Brighton, he would represent an upgrade on their current options.

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

He is best utilised as a right winger with freedom to remain in attacking positions, but he can play anywhere across the forward line.

The space allowed to players like Jahanbakhsh in the Eredivisie helped him deliver the goals and assists that he did. His goal-scoring took the headlines, but his passing range and quality delivery also stood out, as shown by his number of assists. The Iranian is never scared to attempt a high-risk pass.

Jahanbakhsh is a very good player to watch when he has the ball at his feet. He looks to commit defenders and beat them on the dribble with his close ball control and low centre of gravity. At times, his decision making is questionable as he often takes difficult shots, but there is no denying that he creates a lot of problems for defending teams.

This summer is the right time for Jahanbakhsh to make a move to a bigger league and at the age of 24, he would be an incredible addition for Brighton. His upside is huge and there would be potential to sell him on for an even larger fee in the future if he continues to develop at a rapid rate. There has been other reported interest from Leicester City, but the Seagulls will be hopeful of winning the race.

 

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