Islam Slimani talked to the media at Benton yesterday is hoping to pass a fitness test today so he can make his debut against Manchester United tomorrow afternoon.
The 29-year-old Algerian decided to come to Newcastle as soon as Rafa Benitez had talked to him and it turns out he would already like to join Newcastle permanently in the summer.
Islam Slimani – at his press conference yesterday
That’s dependent on whether he can help us avoid another relegation – which would be horrific and very hard to take for Newcastle’s long-suffering fans.
This is some of what the Algerian International had to say yesterday at the Benton Training grounds:
“Yes, yes, I would like to stay longer if I do well,”
“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.”
“Alan Shearer was a great, great striker, but from what I know there’s no star here, we’re a group who are gelling, and our aim is to do best for the team.”
“The No 9 is what I feel the most comfortable in, so why not?”
“The big difference is that Rafa 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 and couldn’t get in the team.”
“I’m looking forward, Newcastle is now, Leicester was last year.”
“The manager here phoned me and we had a good chat.”
“There was a good feeling between us and it’s important to get a call like this, to know that you’re wanted by a big coach like him.”
“I hope I can show what I’m capable of. At Leicester, I had a good time there and a good season, but it was always about injuries and getting injured.”
“But now it’s about Newcastle. I’ve worked hard all week and the aim is to give 100% every single match.”
“I think Newcastle’s a big club and it’s a good choice,”
“A lot of clubs got in touch but I’m pretty sure I made the right choice. I’m here to support the team and have a good second half to the season.”
“I knew a lot about Newcastle, Alan Shearer, I’d also seen the film Goal.”
“It’s a great club, a very famous club, with world-renowned players like Alan Shearer.”
“I’m here to give my best to fight for my team.”
Those are some excellent comments from Slimani, and he already seems comfortable working under Rafa Benitez, who we hope can get the very best out of him in the final 12 vital games of the season.
Slimani will be wearing the No 13 shirt at Newcastle – a number that has been successful for him when he’s played for the Algerian side.
Sp of our three loan players, Slimani and Dubravka, are playing for their futures on Tyneside, and at some point, we hope that Kenedy will want to join us on a permanent basis.
The 22-year-old is in good hands under Rafa Benitez to bring out all his skills and talents and become a great player in the future.
Hopefully for Newcastle United.