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Islam Slimani: What does the future hold?

7:25 AM MYT 27/07/2018
Islam Slimani Leicester City
The Algeria striker has struggled in the Premier League to date, and a return to Portugal appears imminent

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Leicester City’s decision to sign Islam Slimani for £28 million in 2016 appeared to make sense, even if the forward appeared somewhat overpriced.

The hope was that he had the presence and the physicality to thrive in the Premier League, and after netting 27 in 33 goals in his final Primeira Liga season, he clearly knew the route to goal.

Many of the Foxes’ new signings struggled in the 2016-17 campaign, and Slimani was no different, despite ending the year with seven goals in the top flight.

He didn’t kick on last term, however, and appears to no longer have a future at the King Power Stadium.


The story of last season


Rather than building on his return in his maiden season in England, Slimani took a step back last term, and clearly didn’t have the trust of either Craig Shakespeare or his successor Claude Puel.

He netted just once in 12 outings for Leicester before being sent on loan to Newcastle United during the January transfer window.

Islam Slimani | 2017-18 stats

It was a switch that offered Slimani a chance to finally make his mark, but a thigh injury prevented him from making his debut until late March, and he did little of note before the season ended.

Now 30, has his best chance of proving his worth in the Prem passed him by?


What could happen this window?


Despite an underwhelming time in England—and a particularly disappointing 2017-18 season—Slimani still appears to have some suitors, even though no one has made a move for his services at the time of writing.

Sporting Lisbon appear to be favourites to his signature, although the Portuguese giants will be unable to repay anything close to the fee that they received for his services two years ago.

Instead, the Lions are understood to favour a loan deal, although Leicester are keen to sell the striker outright.

It’s an impasse that may ultimately rule out Sporting as buyers for the ageing forward, as Slimani’s wages also representing a stumbling block.

There are other options for the North African, with Fenerbahce, Al-Hilal, Olympique de Marseille and Newcastle United linked to his signature.


What to expect next season


Despite the disparity between what Leicester want and what Sporting can offer, noises coming from the Portuguese club—according to the local media—suggest that they’re confident they can get the deal over the line.

It would certainly deny Slimani any chance to ‘redeem’ his career in England, but back at the Estadio Jose Alavalade, he could return to the goalscoring form that made him one of the continent’s most feared forwards two seasons ago.

Newcastle appear to be out of the running for the forward, but if OM and Fener may yet represent appealing destinations for the attacker.