Newcastle United had a plan to sign Islam Slimani from Porto for the summer if they managed to avoid relegation, The Evening Chronicle has revealed.
Newcastle United’s transfer business has been slammed in recent years, but Rafael Benitez had a big plan in the summer to sign Islam Slimani, had he kept his side in the top-flight.
At Porto during Newcastle’s interest, the Magpies lined up a big move for the striker but it all fell through following their relegation. However, it is a sign of more promising matters as it’s stated Benitez has a plan for the upcoming window.
Newcastle’s much-maligned transfer antics were knocked into shape by Benitez in the summer, as he worked towards having two first-team players in every position. Although it may seem like he’s getting ahead of himself, the plan is to now ensure Newcastle have a capable squad for when they do return to the top-flight.
Having previously stood still when in a position of strength and then frantically scurried about to try and fix things when it wasn’t going to plan, Benitez’s long-term ambition could see the Magpies spend as much as £200m on new players – although that will be over the course of several windows and not in one big chunk.
Newcastle have a buzz around their squad in the Championship, more so than they did in the Premier League last term, and Benitez is building a model that will appeal for overseas players.
Attracting the bigger players to Newcastle has been a problem in the past when fighting against sides from the capital and bigger, more recognisable clubs elsewhere across England but, under Benitez, Newcastle have enjoyed greater coverage on the European papers.
That’s a difficult question to answer, as it really depends on how far gone Newcastle’s plans were along and how much contact they made with the player. Put head-to-head, choosing between Premier League champions Leicester City and a struggling Newcastle United side isn’t really a fair fight.
Having said that, Leicester only managed to complete a deal for Slimani on Deadline Day, to the tune of £28m, so that would have left plenty of time for Benitez’s Newcastle United to win the race for the Algerian’s services.
It would have also been a test financially as Newcastle have only paid over £20m for a player once – bring Michael Owen a decade ago from Real Madrid. But, 13 of the 20 Premier League sides broke their own transfer records in the summer, so Newcastle would have had to do similar had they stayed up.
Potentially everything. The likes of Leicester, Southampton and West Ham have developed into European sides in the years after their promotion to the top-flight and, with a solid plan behind them, Newcastle could potentially enjoy similar success.
They may just find themselves a few years behind, though, as it’s growing increasingly more difficult to break into the European spots in the Premier League as the historic big four has evolved into a big six – with the likes of West Ham, Everton and Southampton pushing for the final spots.
Still, Newcastle are a historic side and don’t have a big brother in the city to worry about, so the sky could really be the limit for the Magpies, as long as everything goes to plan.