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Timely Islam Slimani boost could help Newcastle secure safety

The Algerian international joined the club on loan in the January window.

Jake Jackman

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Photo: Getty Images

The transfer business conducted by Newcastle United this season has been patchy at best, with the club seeming to act slowly when bringing in new players.

Rafa Benitez made a striker a priority for the January transfer window.

After some time was spent trying and failing to sign Nicolai Jorgensen from Feyenoord, the Magpies turned their attention to Leicester City striker Islam Slimani.

The Algerian arrived on a loan deal and it appeared to be a great piece of business by the club.

However, in hindsight, the deal doesn’t look as great as the striker has yet to pull on a Newcastle shirt almost two months into his spell with the club.

The 29-year-old has been struggling with a thigh injury and has had to be managed carefully by the coaching staff.

The Chronicle report that he could be ready to make his debut this weekend against Huddersfield Town after featuring for Algeria during the international break.

That is encouraging news for Newcastle as they look to secure their Premier League status for next season.

He is facing a difficult battle to be considered a good signing after missing so much football, but there is no doubting that Slimani will offer quality that has been lacking in the front-line this season.

Their top scorer is Dwight Gayle with five goals and that shows why they are struggling at the bottom end of the table.

Rafa Benitez has made Newcastle difficult to beat, as shown by their defensive record. Alongside Brighton, they have conceded fewer than any other team in the bottom half.

They have a foundation to build on over the coming seasons, but they need to add quality to their attack if they are to progress into a top-half Premier League side.

It remains to be seen whether Slimani has a long-term future at St James’ Park.

That does look unlikely at this stage, but it could be a possibility if he finishes the season with a flourish.

The Algerian international will come into the Newcastle team with a point to prove, not only to those at the club but to the rest of the country after a disappointing time at Leicester City.

Slimani only made 15 Premier League starts for the Foxes and his goal return over that period wasn’t bad, but he will believe he didn’t get a fair chance.

He scored eight times in the league with a goal coming every 190.1 minutes.

Considering he wasn’t given a sustained run in the first-team, his record at the KP Stadium suggests he can do well in this division.

During his time at Sporting, he emerged as a powerful centre-forward who thrived in the air.

He seemed a perfect fit for the English game, but Leicester City may not have been the best team for him.

They are more effective when playing on the counter-attack with quick and skilful players.

That isn’t where Slimani’s strengths lie. He is much better at holding the ball up and looking to cause problems with his aerial threat.

In that sense, Newcastle should be a better fit, as they want a forward that can hold up the ball and bring their more creative midfielders into the game.

Meanwhile, they possess players that can deliver a good cross and have a decent record from set pieces.

Slimani should receive service if he manages to get back to full fitness and break into the team.

Although this signing may be seen as a bad one due to his injury problems, there is still time for Slimani to play a part for Newcastle.

If he does return this weekend, it will provide an injection of quality that previously wasn’t available to Benitez and that can only be a positive thing.

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 round-up: Lookman battle, Veloso wanted and Richarlison disappointment

A selection of the latest news and gossip from Everton.

Mathew Nash

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Lookman fight

Everton are still fighting to keep hold of Ademola Lookman this month. Ot has been reported that a new big money bid has been made for the England youngster from German side RB Leipzig.

The Toffees talent thrived on loan in the Bundesliga last season and is therefore on the radar again.

However, according to The Times, Everton remain determined to keep him.

Marco Silva sees him as a hot prospect and is also aware that Yannick Bolasie is likely to leave before the end of the month.

BERGAMO, ITALY – APRIL 29: (L-R) Miguel Veloso of Genua, Bryan Cristante of Atalanta during the Italian Serie A match between Atalanta Bergamo v Genoa at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d Italia on April 29, 2018 in Bergamo Italy (Photo by Jeroen Meuwsen/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Veloso wanted

Everton are reportedly looking at the potential signature of Miguel Veloso. The Portugal international is a free agent having left Genoa this summer.

According to TEAMtalk, the Toffees are said to be interested in signing him, along with Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The 56-cap midfielder would add excellent strength in depth to the midfield at Goodison Park.

Richarlison disappointment

Richarlison has admitted he is disappointed not to have received a call-up to the latest Brazil squad.

The Everton newbie has enjoyed a fantastic start to life at Goodison Park and was being tipped to receive a call-up.

However, the 23-year-old has been left out of Tite’s squad for upcoming games with the USA and El Salvador.

Richarlison admitted to UOL Esporte that he was looking forward to a call-up and was disappointed it never came.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Is Erik Lamela about to have his best season yet as a Tottenham player?

The Argentine made a real impact against Fulham.

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Erik Lamela
Photo: Getty Images

Erik Lamela impressed as Tottenham recorded a 2-1 victory over London rivals Fulham on Saturday.

The Argentine international hasn’t quite lived up to the reputation that accompanied his £25.7 million price when he moved from Roma in August 2013.

While he has threatened to show his true potential at times, he has never been able to achieve the level of consistency that warrants a regular starting spot for Spurs.

Nonetheless, fans were treated to the Argentine at his very best when he broke from his own half, dribbling past the entire Fulham midfield, before laying off the ball to Harry Kane for his goal at the weekend.

(Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Getty Images)

He complemented this moment with a confident cameo display from the bench, in which he threatened the opponents’ goal on two occasions, while fulfilling his role defensively, breaking up several Fulham counter-attacks.

Despite not getting as many minutes as he would have liked, Lamela was hugely influential in turning the course of the tie for the Lilywhites, and this could see him rewarded with his first start of the campaign in the not too distant future.

Having a fit and firing Erik Lamela gives Pochettino another excellent option for rotation in attack. After his cameo at Wembley, there is a feeling that the 26-year-old is well prepared for his best season as a Tottenham player.

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Stoke City

Kevin Wimmer scores on Hannover debut as he puts Stoke nightmare behind him

The Austrian defender had an awful time at Stoke City last season.

Mathew Nash

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When Stoke City signed Kevin Wimmer last summer it looked like something of a coup from the Potters. The Austrian had impressed at Tottenham during his time at White Hart Lane. Unfortunately, game time became hard to come by due to the excellence of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen at the back for Spurs.

Wimmer was therefore sold to Stoke last summer for a fee in the region of £18 million. Mark Hughes was ecstatic with the signing but his form did not justify his exaggerated price-tag.

Wimmer struggled under Hughes and things got even worse when the Welshman left. Replaced by Paul Lambert, the new manager swiftly moved wimmer into the reserves. Told to lose weight he played no part in Stoke’s failed attempt to survive relegation from the Premier League.

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 30: Kevin Wimmer of Stoke City looks dejected following the Premier League match between Chelsea and Stoke City at Stamford Bridge on December 30, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images)

This summer, with Stoke relegated, Wimmer was moved on. He joined Hannover in a season-long loan deal back in May.

At the weekend he began his first steps in forgetting his Stoke City nightmare. The Austrian played his first game for his new club in the DFB Pokal against Karlsruher. Not only did he play, but he also managed to score. It was his first goal since scoring v Liverpool in the League Cup back in 2016 whilst at Spurs.

He scored the opening goal of a convincing 6-0 win, powering home a close-range header.

Wimmer will long be remembered as one of Stoke’s biggest ever flops. But it seems he is certainly enjoying himself back in Germany.

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