According to a recent report from Aydin Post (via The Leicester Mercury), Southampton are interested in a January move for Islam Slimani. The 30-year-old currently plays his football at Turkish giants Fenerbahce on loan from Premier League outfit Leicester City, yet struggles in the Super Lig has raised the possibility of his temporary stint in Turkey being cut short this month.
And a recent report from Aydin Post (via The Leicester Mercury) suggests that Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Saints are one side seeking to benefit from Slimani’s woes by moving for him this month, and were the £9 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt) to indeed make the move to St Mary’s, it could spell seriously bad news for current Southampton forward Sam Gallagher.
Ultimately, while Algeria international Slimani has struggled for form for Fenerbahce this term with just one goal in 14 league games for the Turkish heavyweights, his overall goal-scoring record in his career is mightily impressive, and the sort that could seriously aid Southampton in their battle against relegation.
The 30-year-old netted 57 times in just 111 games for Sporting Lisbon between 2013 and 2016 to underline his clinical edge in front of goal, with those goal-scoring exploits thus earning him a move to Leicester that summer, for whom he has since netted 13 times in 46 matches.
And while many have viewed his time at the King Power Stadium as on the whole disappointing, that is not a bad return from the striker – yes, his recent spells at both Newcastle United and now Fenerbahce leave a lot to be desired, but there is clearly a hugely accomplished striker in Slimani.
And were he to make the move to St Mary’s this month, and thus provide Hasenhuttl with another option in the final third of the pitch, it could spell seriously bad news for Gallagher and his hopes of playing regularly in the second half of the season.
The 23-year-old made the move to Southampton as a youth player back in 2012 before making his senior debut for the Saints little over a year later, which has since paved the way for 22 further appearances for the club, in which time he has netted on two occasions.
Loan spells at MK Dons, Blackburn Rovers, and Birmingham City have littered his time at St Mary’s to suggest that he was still some way away from the first team, but the fact he hasn’t been sent out on loan this term by either Mark Hughes or Hasenhuttl suggests that he is very much in first team plans this time round.
And with minutes against Derby County in the FA Cup and Leicester in the Premier League this month, the striker may well have a part to play between now and the end of the season, although the arrival of Slimani is sure to push him down the Saints pecking order.
And given Gallagher appears to already be behind the likes of Danny Ings and Shane Long, and maybe even Charlie Austin and Michael Obafemi as well, his first team chances would likely take a severe hit were the Algerian ace to join the Saints this month.
Just when it looked like the 23-year-old was beginning to edge closer to first team action, a move for Slimani would surely push him back to square one – thus, a move for the 30-year-old may well be well received by Saints fans, but it could spell seriously bad news for striker Gallagher.
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