By 90Min
February 10, 2018

Islam Slimani has welcomed the opportunity to make his loan switch from Leicester to Newcastle permanent should the Magpies secure their Premier League status for next season. 

The 29-year-old striker failed to light up the King Power stadium following his £29m move from Sporting Lisbon in 2016, but a loan deal to St James' Park has re-ignited the spark needed to turn his career around.

After a lengthy discussion with manager Rafa Benitez, the Algeria international is eager to be the Magpies' new leading man, potentially starting with his club debut in their home game against Manchester United on Sunday - but he must first overcome a thigh injury.

Slimani told the Guardian of his ambitions at Newcastle: “I feel most comfortable in the No 9 shirt so why not in the future here? I’d be very happy if I could stay here longer. My objective is to score goals here. 

"I already knew a lot about Newcastle and about Alan Shearer. It’s a great club, a very famous club, renowned around the world. I’m happy to be here.

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"The big difference between Newcastle and Leicester is that Rafa Benítez trusts me and having the trust of your coach is very important. Before I joined, Rafa phoned me, we had a good chat and there was a good feeling between us. 

"It’s important to get a call like this, to know you’re wanted by a big coach like him. We’ve spoken a lot about a lot of topics, many, many subjects."

With Benitez backing Slimani to ignite his misfiring attack, the 29-year-old knows he must repay the faith by consistently performing on the pitch, he added: “Yes, that’s true. I hope I can show what I’m capable of. 

"At Leicester it was always about injuries but I’m here to give my best fight to the team. My aim is to give 100%every single match.

“I wanted to leave Leicester, I needed a fresh start, Newcastle’s a big club and it’s a good choice for me. A lot of clubs got in touch but I’m pretty sure I made the right choice.”

With just one point separating Newcastle from the relegation zone ahead of the weekend's fixtures, the Magpies will be desperate to end their dismal record of nine home league games without a win when second placed United come to town. 

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