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Agreement reportedly ‘close’ in potentially huge setback for Benitez’s Newcastle

Newcastle United supporters have been quite downbeat in the Transfer Tavern in the last few days, what with their side going down 3-1 at Premier League table-toppers Manchester City on Saturday to end their unbeaten start to 2018.

Rafa Benitez’s men went into their clash with the runaway leaders having won two and drawn the other of their three games in the New Year, with victories over Stoke City and Luton Town as well a draw at home to Swansea City filling our resident Magpies fans with some hope ahead of the rest of the season. Yet their team were unable to maintain their unbeaten start to the year as a Sergio Aguero hat-trick inspired Pep Guardiola’s side to all three points at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, with Jacob Murphy’s second half effort proving to be nothing more than a consolation for the North East giants.

Consequently, alongside news that a takeover of the club is unlikely to happen anytime soon, there have been many deflated Newcastle fans in the Tavern in recent times, and they are unlikely to be thrilled by a recent report from The Daily Mail, which details a potentially huge setback for Benitez in his pursuit of Leicester City’s Islam Slimani.

The 29-year-old made the move to the King Power Stadium back in 2016 but hasn’t quite had the desired effect at the Midlands outfit, netting just once in 12 Premier League appearances for Claude Puel’s men this season.

As such, his future at the club has been subject of speculation in the last few weeks with Newcastle one side reportedly keen on his services, yet recent reports suggest that the Foxes are ‘in talks’ with Ligue 1 champions Monaco over a possible loan move for the Algeria international.

And with an agreement thought to be ‘close’, Benitez’s Newcastle may well have to turn their attentions to other targets, or indeed stump up the £20 million to land Slimani on a permanent deal.

Landlord’s verdict: It hasn’t quite worked for Islam Slimani since his move to Leicester City back in 2016, although there have been glimpses of promise in his 18 months at the King Power Stadium.

Nonetheless, his future appears to be away from the Foxes, with Newcastle one side reportedly keen on landing him this month in a bid to bolster their flagging striking ranks, what with Rafa Benitez’s men having scored just 22 goals in their 24 Premier League games.

However, an agreement is reportedly ‘close’ with Monaco over a potential loan move for the Algeria international, yet the report does suggest if Newcastle were to stump up his £20 million price-tag this month, he could well move to St James’ Park.

Only time will tell exactly how this transfer saga pans out.

Newcastle fans… what do you make of the news? Let us know!

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