Following a turbulent transfer window for Newcastle United, the Toon Army in the Transfer Tavern were relieved to see their side secure the signature of Islam Slimani on deadline day.
Newcastle United were linked with various different strikers throughout the January window, particularly towards the latter stages of the month, and their persistence finally paid off on January 31st as they confirmed their acquisition of Slimani. Leicester City’s Algerian striker has moved to the North-East on a temporary loan for the remainder of the season in a bid to bolster Benitez’s forward options.
So far this season, the likes of Joselu and Dwight Gayle have failed to convince both Benitez and the supporters that they are good enough to fire Newcastle to survival, which made the signing of a striker something of a necessity.
Although Slimani was only Leicester’s fourth chose striker behind Jamie Vardy, Shinji Okazaki and Kelechi Iheanacho, The Magpies faithful were just happy to see another option arrive at the club.
The supporters will undoubtedly have high hopes and expectations for their latest acquisition, however, one of Newcastle’s main problems this season has been their lack of cutting edge in breaking down the opposition in the final-third, so it’s crucial that Ayoze Perez’s performances dramatically improve for the remainder of the season.
Playing in the number ten role, Perez (valued at £7.2 million by Transfermarkt) should be the focal point of Newcastle’s attacks and a constant source of creativity between the lines of midfield and attack, but the Spaniard has struggled to achieve that throughout the season so far.
Perez has often been praised for his work-rate and determination in his performances for The Magpies, but much more is required from a number ten player in the Premier League. Slimani is going to need players to provide chances for him to score the goals that are required to keep Newcastle in the top-flight, so it’s down to Perez to finally repay Benitez for the faith he has shown in him this season and rediscover his creative spark.
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