The Newcastle United fans have been celebrating in the Transfer Tavern of late after their side breached the magic 40-point mark and effectively secured their survival.
Rafa Benitez’s side have suddenly picked up momentum in recent weeks and stormed clear of the relegation zone with a string of fine results in the Premier League, and our resident Magpies faithful couldn’t be any more delighted with how their side have performed since the end of the January transfer window. The performances of two of Newcastle’s January signings, namely Kenedy and Martin Dubravka have played an integral role in their progress, despite the fact that the majority of supporters were banking on Islam Slimani to bail them out of trouble.
It appeared that Newcastle were in the market for a centre-forward for the vast majority of the mid-season window, and they eventually landed Slimani (valued at £19.8 million by Transfermarkt) on a short term loan deal from Leicester City. However, the Algerian star has barely had a kick since his arrival at St James’ Park due to a muscle problem.
Slimani finally had an opportunity to get some minutes under his belt against Arsenal last weekend as he entered the fray to replace Dwight Gayle with 63 minutes on the clock, and he made an immediate impact by making an intelligent header which resulted in Matt Ritchie’s winning goal.
After spending the vast majority of his time at the club on the sideline, it was a huge relief for the supporters to see Slimani both on the field of play and making a positive contribution towards Newcastle’s attacking effort in the final-third.
Considering the Magpies have secured their survival this season with 5 fixtures left to play, it seems logical for Benitez to reward Slimani for his performance last weekend by handing him his first start for the club against Everton later today.
Newcastle are lacking strength in depth in attacking positions, so if Slimani can prove himself during the final weeks of the season then he might just convince the club to sign him on a permanent deal.
With that being said, Benitez should boost him into the starting eleven against Everton and hand him a genuine opportunity to play for a permanent contract with the club during the dying embers of the season.
Newcastle fans – thoughts? Let us know below!
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