Newcastle United supporters have been pretty despondent in the Transfer Tavern this week after seeing their side go down 3-1 at Premier League table-toppers Manchester City on Saturday, thus suffering a 13th league defeat of the season.
Rafa Benitez’s men went into their clash in the North West having won two and drawn the other of their three games in 2018, with victories over Stoke City and Luton Town as well as a draw at home to Swansea City giving our resident Magpies fans some confidence heading into the rest of the season. Yet they were unable to maintain that unbeaten start to the New Year as a hat-trick from Sergio Aguero inspired the runaway leaders to all three points, with Jacob Murphy’s second half effort proving to be nothing more than a consolation for the visitors.
Consequently, there have been a few downbeat Newcastle fans in the Tavern in recent times, several of whom are sincerely hoping that their team can bring in the necessary reinforcements in the final week of the transfer window to pull clear of the relegation mire.
And one man who is already through the door is Chelsea’s Kenedy, who officially moved to St James’ Park on Tuesday on loan for the rest of the season.
And while the youngster will add to the creative ranks at Newcastle, the Magpies are still in need of a striker, and their reported pursuit of Islam Slimani is a deal they simply have to get done as it would ultimately be bigger signing for the club than that of Kenedy.
Clearly, Newcastle’s problems this season have stemmed from their distinct lack of goals. They have netted just 22 times in their 24 Premier League games so far this term, have scored more than two goals in a match on just two occasions this season, and their top goal-scorers are Joselu and Ayoze Perez with just four goals apiece.
So while Kenedy will no doubt add to the creative ranks at St James’ Park, it’s a goal-scorer that Benitez needs to put those chances away.
Newcastle have created more chances this season than nine other Premier League sides, while Matt Ritchie’s tally of 39 chances created is more than the likes of Southampton’s Dusan Tadic (38), and Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha (30) – they just need someone to put those chances in the back of the net.
And that’s why a move for Slimani is hugely important.
Yes, the Algeria international hasn’t enjoyed the best of seasons so far at Leicester City, netting just once in 12 Premier League appearances, but much of that is down to a lack of playing time.
Yet last season, the 29-year-old managed seven goals and four assists in 23 league appearances for the Foxes, showing glimpses during the campaign that he could be a handful for many Premier League defences. Give him regular gametime, and Newcastle fans might see those glimpses regularly.
And with excellent aerial pedigree as well as an eye for goal, Slimani would be the perfect man to get on the end of Ritchie’s crosses from open play or in dead ball situations, and could well forge a decent partnership with Dwight Gayle, who clearly needs someone like the 29-year-old alongside him to produce the goods.
Granted, it hasn’t worked for Slimani this season, but a regular run of games and thus confidence in him from the manager could get him back to his previously high levels, and as such the sort of player that Leicester spent £28 million on back in 2016.
And with Newcastle in dire need of a striker, landing the £19.8 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt) would be a bigger signing for the club than Kenedy.
Newcastle fans… what do you think? Let us know!Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!