Newcastle loanee comments on chances of permanent stay

Date published: Saturday 10th February 2018 10:45

Islam Slimani could have a long-term future at Newcastle if he fires the club to Premier League safety.

The 29-year-old Algeria international has endured a frustrating spell since his £29million switch from Sporting Lisbon to Leicester 18 months ago and is desperate to reignite his career under Rafael Benitez on Tyneside.

Asked if that could extend to a permanent move, he said: “Yes, yes. I’m just on loan at the minute, but if I could stay here, I’d be very happy, so let’s see how it goes.

“The big difference is that he (Benitez) trusts me and when you have the trust of your coach, that’s very important.

“They trusted me at Leicester, it’s not that I wasn’t trusted. I started well, but then I was dogged by bad health and injuries.”

Slimani could make his Newcastle debut, a thigh injury permitting, in Sunday’s home clash with Manchester United.

The Magpies will attempt to avoid extending their run without a home Premier League win to nine games, a sequence which has illustrated their relative lack of firepower.

Slimani is busily acquainting himself with the club and the city following his deadline day arrival, but is doing so with at least some knowledge after watching Alan Shearer’s exploits from afar as well as the film Goal.

Asked if he felt the pressure of stepping into Shearer’s boots, he said: “Alan Shearer was a great, great striker.

“There’s no star here. We’re a group who are gelling and our aim is to do best for the team.”

Slimani, who will wear the number 13 shirt – his number for Algeria – will hope to take the first steps in his Newcastle career as Riyad Mahrez attempts to re-integrate himself into the Leicester squad following the collapse of his proposed move to Manchester City and the furore which has ensued.

However, he was giving nothing away about his good friend’s mood.

He said: “He’s my friend before being another player or team-mate, so what we say is personal, not about football.”


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