Would West Ham or Arsenal be the best fit for Islam Slimani?
This summer, it seems like nearly every Premier League club is looking to sign a striker to strengthen their attacking options. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Michy Batshuayi and Vincent Janssen have all arrived in the Premier League with other forwards expected to be signed in the coming weeks.
Arsenal and West Ham seem the most desperate to add a striker this month, which makes the Islam Slimani link to the Premier League interesting for both clubs.
According to Sky Sources, there is Premier League interest in the Sporting Lisbon striker, including two clubs that are set to play in the Champions League this season.
The 28-year-old was superb in Portugal last season, scoring 32 in 44 for Sporting. He thinks he is ready for a move to a bigger league and is believed to favour the Premier League.
The Algerian is a powerful forward, who is excellent in the air. He would suit the physical style of the Premier League. Slimani is a classic number nine, a target man who looks to bully defenders using his imposing frame. His upper body strength and aggressive style allow him to dominate in the air, scoring lots of headed goals. He operates best in the penalty area and has a natural goal-scoring instinct.
Although he was a late developer, Slimani is emerging as one of the most prolific strikers in Europe and needs to make the jump to a bigger league sooner rather than later to continue that progression.
Technically, he isn’t the best and wouldn’t suit a side playing free-flowing attacking football, such as Manchester City under Pep Guardiola. However, he has the raw physical attributes to become an asset for a more pragmatic side.
In terms of Arsenal and West Ham, two clubs that could be looking at Slimani, he would be a good signing for both, but suits the latter a lot more. Arsenal like to have a powerful striker leading the line and Slimani certainly suits that description. However, he is worse on the ball than Olivier Giroud and untested at the very top level.
The Gunners need a proven striker leading the line and for the asking price, Slimani would be a huge risk. They are looking to bring in a player to improve on Giroud and Slimani wouldn’t guarantee that.
As for West Ham, they need a goal-scorer to compete with Andy Carroll, as the Englishman cannot be relied upon to stay clear of injuries. Diafra Sakho appears to want a move away from the club and although his move to West Brom appears to have fallen apart, there is still a chance he leaves this summer. Therefore the need for more striking options is pressing.
The club have been looking for quicker strikers this summer, with Alexandre Lacazette and Andre Ayew both the subject of bids from the Hammers. Slimani is a different sort of player, and more similar to Carroll, but he is crucially more mobile than the Geordie. Also he is a much better all-around finisher and is far less injury-prone.
If they brought in Slimani, they would have a regular option leading the line, which they lacked last season. In addition, West Ham have a talented group of midfield creators, with Dimitri Payet, Michail Antonio, Gokhan Tore, Manuel Lanzini and Sofiane Feghouli at the club.
A striker with the ability that Slimani possesses will thrive ahead of such midfield talent.
It does look Islam Slimani is eager to move to the Premier League this summer and he would be a great fit for the style of the league. Although he carries some risk as he is scoring goals in what is considered a weaker league in Portugal, he has the physical attributes to carry that form into the Premier League.
He is perhaps a level below what Arsenal and other Champions League clubs will be pursuing, but for West Ham, he would be a great addition.
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