Rafa – This Player Desperate To Play – And He’s Training Well


Islam Slimani has not started a game for Newcastle yet, but in his two substitute appearances, he has done well and looked good.

Last time out he helped set up the winning goal for Matt Ritchie against Arsenal when he won a header on the edge of the penalty area.

Islam is also very willing to run, and he has some speed for a big man.

Rafa demands hard work in training and during games from every player, and it seems Islam is working his socks off to impress Rafa.

It also seems like the 6ft 3ins tall Algerian International is anxious to make the move to Newcastle a permanent one this summer.

Islam Slimani – desperate to play

This is what Rafa has said about him in the Chronicle:

“Still – Islam Slimani has a contract with his club – so it’s not that he’s under pressure to earn a move.”

“But if he’s happy here, then we want to see what he is capable of doing for us.”

“Every training session he is showing that he is desperate to play for us.”

“I think he is fit enough to start. He has been training well.”

“When a player is coming from the bench, you need to see ‘something’. ‘Something’ means at the very least he has to run.”

“If he’s doing well then much better but he has to run first and foremost and work hard for the team, and he did that.”

“He was fine (against Arsenal). We needed energy, and I think he has pace and he brought that.”

At the moment it’s touch and fo with Islam whether Rafa will make a bid for him this summer.

But the players know he has a massive chance to impress Rafa in the final five games of the season, and he wants to take that chance.

That will be good for him and good for Newcastle.

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54 comments so far

  • Tsunki

    Apr 23, 2018 at 10:51 AM

    Comment #1

    Fit enough to start? Well ok then!

    0
  • Veltman

    Apr 23, 2018 at 11:04 AM

    Comment #2

    Dubai is advocating false rumor and slap negative mantras on people’s face.There is nothing negative going on between Rafa and Ashley.We are a Pl team now and he’ll have a lot to spend.Don’t see any hidden agenda out there that should be concerning.He is part of decision making and among others.You are wasting your time digging.Are you trying to be an itk again or you just digging stuff for the sake of getting a reply from someone..? Nah,i get you and I know what I prefer to do.

    0
  • RobLeenio

    Apr 23, 2018 at 11:09 AM

    Comment #3

    Sounds to me like he’s been ticking boxes with Rafa already – pace, desire, training hard and well, wants to play for us, showed what he had to when he came on. Colour Rafa impressed, all he needs to do now is score a couple of goals and I think we have our new Centre Forward, assuming we can do a deal with Leicester.

    4
  • Graeme

    Apr 23, 2018 at 11:14 AM

    Comment #4

    Is he the best available, within our budget? If he is, get him signed – if he’s not, then move him back home!!
    I think Rafa will break our transfer record this window, to get the striker he really wants!!

    0
  • Veltman

    Apr 23, 2018 at 11:15 AM

    Comment #5

    Rob – I was echoing your thoughts above btw.

    0
  • Pottsclock

    Apr 23, 2018 at 11:17 AM

    Comment #6

    I’m not sure why Ed says “It also seems like the 6ft 3ins tall Algerian International is anxious to make the move to Newcastle a permanent one this summer.”? I may have missed something but I’ve not seen anything either way frm Slimani or his associates.
    A professional player of his age will want to play as much as possible as it improves his value and the type of club that will go for him. So I really do understand why he wants to get game time with us now and give his best. Honestly, he looks a very good player.
    But have we seen enough of him and his fitness to know that he could be a solution for 2-3 years for us? I think Leicester will want most of what they paid for him back i.e. £20M+

    0
  • bettyswallocks

    Apr 23, 2018 at 11:18 AM

    Comment #7

    Wenger’s departure from Arsenal was expedited by the fans making their feelings known by leaving many empty seats in the stadium . He has publicly stated that the fans had too much influence and have tarnished Arsenal’s reputation internationally by their criticism of him. It does go to show however that fans can indeed have an influence.
    It has been debated many times on here as to whether a boycott would have any success in ridding us of our unwanted owner and the answer I think is no.

    Firstly compared to Arsenal’s so called demise and the dissatisfaction of their fans , our suffering under Ashley’s uncaring ownership gives Arsenal no cause for complaint. If the gooners had been through what we have they would have had many an empty stadium.
    Our fans, myself included are just too loyal to the club and the team to allow a greedy owner to disrupt our support , and with Ashley being a stubborn, money orientated shyster he would never put the club first and step down unless it suited him.

    5
  • jayphoto

    Apr 23, 2018 at 11:25 AM

    Comment #8

    Can’t stand ashley and make no apologies for him, but the 1 season we’ve had in the premier league after a season of proper television money, they backed the manager, which was unfortunately McClaren who bought Mitro, Wijnaldum, Thauvin, Mbmemba, Shelvey and Townsend and sold no-one.. Next season will be similar in regards to having that TV money in the bank… hopefully they can back Benitez the way they did McClaren… (clutching at dreams and straws)

    4
  • jayphoto

    Apr 23, 2018 at 11:29 AM

    Comment #9

    Slimani looks a right handful to be fair! Hes more suited to our system than he was Leicesters and we play a similar set up to the one he played well with in Portugal! Surely at 30 he’s too old to be paying the asking price for, well documented he wasn’t Rafas first choice and they’ll be a lot available in the summer… Be a different story if he’d arrived fit and was storming games like Kenedy or sat on 7/8 goals but i can’t see rafa convincing this board to sign him for 20m+ based on what he’s contributed…

    3
  • lesh

    Apr 23, 2018 at 11:33 AM

    Comment #10

    Veltman

    I don’t think Dubai said there were negative things between Rafa and Ashley. I may be wrong, but I think his message was that nothing in terms of aims, objectives, strategy and planning appears to be going on between them.

    Rafa’s trying to inject some urgency into discussions as the window of opportunity for player upgrading is very tight this year and strategy etc should be under discussion now – not between Ashley and Rafa’s reps, but between Ashley and Rafa to define the way forward before the window opens.

    Once the principles have been agreed, Rafa’s long-term future at the club can be considered.

    2
  • lesh

    Apr 23, 2018 at 11:40 AM

    Comment #11

    The Fan Forum’s convened soon and this one might be the time for fan delegates to pack out AOB with questions we want answers to, let the club know that the natives are restless and answers, not fudge, are required over the table, at the meeting and not kicked into the long grass.

    Ok, so the club threatens to close the meeting without answering the questions so, fan delegates refuse to move then security’s called in to reject ’em and the press’d love it, just love it.

    What’s Bishop to say? The delegates are troublemakers, not true fans?

    1
  • Tsunki

    Apr 23, 2018 at 11:42 AM

    Comment #12

    It’s pretty well documented that Ashley spends little or no time talking to anyone he doesn’t need to. I would be surprised if you could count the conversations Rafa has had with Mike on one hand. Minus three fingers.

    1
  • Tsunki

    Apr 23, 2018 at 11:43 AM

    Comment #13

    If there’s no fudge lesh i wouldn’t blame them for not even going.

    0
  • RobLeenio

    Apr 23, 2018 at 11:53 AM

    Comment #14

    lesh, I think the club choose the delegates for the fans’ forum but don’t quote me on that. They couldn’t very well turn round and call them troublemakers having hand picked them

    On the flip side, those delegates may not want to rock the boat too much for fear of the fans forum being suspended again for another 12 months.

    0
  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Apr 23, 2018 at 11:55 AM

    Comment #15

    Going to be a lot of pundits and experts rolling out saying “Mike can’t put any of his own money in, hes seen you Geordies alright blah blah blah” the usual gash that a lot of them say!

    Thing is he doesn’t need to put in any extra money for Rafa to be competitive he just needs to let us invest the clubs money that we make every season to compete he could still easily take away a lot of his “debt” owed and we could still afford a decent wedge !

    League placing prize money almost takes care of the fees for Dubruvka , Kennedy and Slimani that are needed we have quite a few players out of contract this season so that makes room for players in the squad !

    What about Fun88 money ? I thought that was supposed to provide funds every season for a player or investment into the club ? No reason why the yearly installment from them can’t pay for the training ground / scouting improvements

    Then we have the rest of the money plus player sales if we get our 3 loan players signed and then got a left back and right back , a no 10 and another striker with maybe a young midfielder or 2 then that would be significant progression in the squad that would allow us to have a go at the cups with no relegation fears

    3
  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Apr 23, 2018 at 11:56 AM

    Comment #16

    Not to mention Sports Direct should really be paying for something now going forward !

    2
  • bettyswallocks

    Apr 23, 2018 at 11:56 AM

    Comment #17

    There isn’t normally any fudge but biscuits and hard boiled sweets will be put out for those that are peckish. If Rafa attends , which I think is highly unlikely they may well have a bowl of Turkish Delight as I believe Rafa is very partial to a sweet or two.

    0
  • RobLeenio

    Apr 23, 2018 at 11:58 AM

    Comment #18

    The age of a player should be less of an issue than that player’s history. In Slimani’s case, he’s spent a great deal of the last couple of years sat on the bench so should have a longer career than some. He’s never had a serious injury that I know of – by his age, Shearer had at least one knee reconstruction. Essentially, he’s a 28 year old in a 30 year old’s body, if that makes sense.

    Whether Ashley can see beyond his age is a moot point, hopefully, as I’m hoping Rafa has control over the Summer’s transfer budget to spend as he sees fit.

    2
  • hibbit

    Apr 23, 2018 at 11:58 AM

    Comment #19

    lesh
    i do agree it’s time the forum delegates asked some of the more awkward questions and faced the problems head on, they can deal with any consequences if and when they happen, not sitting worrying about them happening
    it’s definitely time to stop all this pussy footing around

    3
  • Tsunki

    Apr 23, 2018 at 11:58 AM

    Comment #20

    To be fair fudge is really just toffee that has been fudged.

    0
  • jayphoto

    Apr 23, 2018 at 11:59 AM

    Comment #21

    Imagine this friday if Mitrovic scores against the mackems, depending on his celebration he could go down in folklore.. hes mad enough to whip off his top to reveal a staying up going down tshirt too….

    6
  • DubaiMicky

    Apr 23, 2018 at 12:06 PM

    Comment #22

    Veltman, get a life, or a wife, or something. All i said was that if Rafa isn’t involved in the future ideas and path of the Toon, then that’s a worry, cos I’d have thought he would be (he talks to Penfold daily apparently).

    That’s all, get off your high horse (preferably without punching it).

    4
  • lesh

    Apr 23, 2018 at 12:08 PM

    Comment #23

    RobLeenio

    Some FF delegates may not want to rock the boat too much for fear of the fans forum being suspended again for another 12 months? So, the club suspend the Forum? That’d look good in the press too – Club suspends fan forum cos it doesn’t like some of the questions it’s being asked.

    2
  • Jail for Ashley

    Apr 23, 2018 at 12:14 PM

    Comment #24

    Jay,
    McLaren didn’t buy Thauvin, Wijnaldum etc, they were bought for him for his role of head coach, they were seen as pure investment rather than what was good for the team. He apparently had a lot of say in the Shelvey and Townsend deal but that was only after relegation was on the cards, do you honestly think he’d have had money spent that January if we’d looked relatively safe. I think the other nine January’s answer that one.

    0
  • RobLeenio

    Apr 23, 2018 at 12:14 PM

    Comment #25

    lesh, sadly that’s exactly what seems to have happened since the last meeting in June last year. 10 months, not a year, but you get the point – it’s supposed to be quarterly

    https://www.nufc.co.uk/media/30796/fans-forum-minutes-290617.pdf

    0
  • bettyswallocks

    Apr 23, 2018 at 12:16 PM

    Comment #26

    The problem with the fudge is that nobody wants to be associated with packing it.

    4
  • Ron Knee

    Apr 23, 2018 at 12:17 PM

    Comment #27

    McClaren wanted to move Coloccini on, but he was overruled.

    0
  • Jail for Ashley

    Apr 23, 2018 at 12:19 PM

    Comment #28

    Jib

    Apr 23, 2018 at 8:55 AM

    Comment #82
    Ashley has shown with Barnes and Bishop
    if he feels he can trust a person business wise
    they receive total freedom.
    I think as far as footy goes he has now found
    the same trust in Rafa and they’ll move forward”

    Hitler trusted Himmler and Heydrich but had a deep mistrust of his most talented general Rommel.

    8
  • Nostradamus the Geordie

    Apr 23, 2018 at 12:31 PM

    Comment #29

    I’m hoping that the lack of talk from Mike Ashley to the fans or the manager may have something to do with a very closed door talk with a certain someone about selling the club. Maybe, just maybe Mike has told that certain someone that this time they need to keep things a lot secretive and not jump around in the papers talking about it. Yes, I know it may be a dream thinking this way but you never know, it just seems weird that Ash has not been seen anywhere around the club.

    0
  • jayphoto

    Apr 23, 2018 at 12:37 PM

    Comment #30

    @jail – ok to phrase it another way, The club spent money in the only other season they have had the benefit of massive tv money the season before. Ashleys unpredictable, he must value what Rafa brings as Rafas contract is more than the last 5 managers yearly wage combined..
    Also, what rafas looking for might not be a million miles away from what Ashley will be prepared to invest… At Napoli for example, largely Rafa took in players with ability that weren’t 1st choice and made them better… Callejon, Higuain or players like Martens from lesser leagues. I actually think Rafa is ok with not being able to sign established first team premier league players and budget won’t necessarily be the biggest problem.. i think his biggest issue will be the speed that the club moves to get deals done and the negotiating tactics it employs etc

    3
  • Tsunki

    Apr 23, 2018 at 12:40 PM

    Comment #31

    Ashley announcing a large transfer budget may be the alarm call to prospective buyers to get their bids in quick because he intends to raise the club’s value.

    1
  • martoon

    Apr 23, 2018 at 12:41 PM

    Comment #32

    Betty @7 – I can think of plenty of examples where fan power/protest has contributed to the demise of the manager however I’m struggling to think of one where it has forced the owner to sell – you can’t really bracket the two together!

    3
  • G

    Apr 23, 2018 at 12:44 PM

    Comment #33

    Agreed martoon. You just can’t hurt a billionaire.

    0
  • Veltman

    Apr 23, 2018 at 12:47 PM

    Comment #34

    No need to be jumpish or offensive.I was just correcting your sad thoughts.Take it or leave it.

    1
  • jayphoto

    Apr 23, 2018 at 12:48 PM

    Comment #35

    @martoon – especially in this day n age where TV money rules… Ashley rarely ever at the ground, rarely ever in the north…really the only thing that would make him sell is if the club wasn’t self sufficient which is unlikely in the near future..even if we drop down the leagues like the mackems, Ashleys the kind of c**t that would plunge it into administration as his debt is the largest creditor to the club, gotta be some tax write-offs in there somewhere…

    1
  • cyprus

    Apr 23, 2018 at 12:50 PM

    Comment #36

    Mitro slimani up front next year. Set.

    2
  • RobLeenio

    Apr 23, 2018 at 12:50 PM

    Comment #37

    “Asked now if he can ‘trust’ Mike Ashley, Rafa Benitez took the diplomatic route and instead said ‘I think the answer is…that Everton is the next game, and I have to prepare for that’.”

    From The Mag – not sure of the original source….

    2
  • Pottsclock

    Apr 23, 2018 at 12:56 PM

    Comment #38

    For me, the role that Charnley has is key. He role is to convince Rafa to stay by defining a suitable project with ambition to take the club forward and by rewarding Rafa appropriately for success. At the same time he has to work with Ashley to ensure that all the available funds are there to support the project. He is the keystone.
    Ashley doesn’t run the club on a day-to-day basis. He’s simply the bank. Same with all people in his position.
    My biggest moan with Ashley is that he has never appointed the right people at Charnley’s level to both run the football side properly and also ensure that the football and funds are aligned.

    0
  • Jail for Ashley

    Apr 23, 2018 at 12:57 PM

    Comment #39

    Jay,
    I agree, I don’t think Rafa is demanding silly money, he has talked about business models and sensible investment many times. It sounds as though it has been the crux of both sets of talks yet Ashley has gone back on his words. “He (Ashley) knows what he said is the famous quote.
    Anyway, time will tell.

    2
  • lochinvar

    Apr 23, 2018 at 1:15 PM

    Comment #40

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/43858986

    This is what I hope Slimani can do for us …tonight would be a good start

    0

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