Crystal Palace have yet to venture into the transfer market to secure the signature of a new striker this summer despite Christian Benteke’s woes at the spearhead of their attack last season, and with time running out to secure a deal it’s becoming a concerning time for the supporters.
After watching Benteke struggle in a lone striker role last season with only 3 goals to boast from 31 appearances, Roy Hodgson simply has to add further quality to his attacking options this summer if he wants to keep the Eagles in the Premier League. With resources expected to be limited at Selhurst Park, loan deals and free transfers will need to be considered in order to secure the necessary quality ahead of the new season.
And with that in mind, Hodgson should be on high alert after the Leicester Mercury revealed that Leicester City are willing to sell Islam Slimani this summer for £18 million.
The report also claims that Leicester would prefer to sell the Algeria international, but a handful of clubs are lining up to sign him on a loan deal.
After spending the vast majority of the previous campaign on the sideline due to intense competition for first-team places at Leicester and injury problems which persisted into his short spell at Newcastle United, spending £18 million on Slimani would represent a huge risk for Palace to take.
However, Leicester may well be forced to allow Slimani to leave on loan once again considering the size of their asking price and, if that proves to be the case, Palace should be at the front of the queue to secure his signature. A loan deal with an option-to-buy at the end of the season is the fairest possible deal for both clubs at this moment in time, so Hodgson should propose a deal of that nature before the window slams shut to add a new dynamic to his attack.
Although Slimani’s reputation has suffered in the past twelve months, it must be remembered that he is a natural goalscorer who possesses the habit of arriving in the right place at the right time to find the back of the net.
The fact he has scored 8 goals and provided 6 assists from just 16 Premier League starts and notched 26 goals at international level proves that the 30-year-old outcast has the firepower which Palace desperately need of ahead of the new season.
But Slimani will not only provide more goals than the hapless Benteke, he will provide a similar level of strength in a number nine role with much greater mobility and a willingness to run in behind – two factors which would bring the best out of Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend.
Slimani may not be the marquee signing that Palace supporters would have dreamed of before the summer window reopened for business, but considering the circumstances they need to be pragmatic and realise their club would be wise to capitalise on Leicester’s desire to offload him with a season-long loan deal containing an option-to-buy clause.
Crystal Palace fans – thoughts? Let us know below!