Islam Slimani: Why Arsenal Should Snub The 31-Goal Striker

Olivier Giroud had a European Championship campaign so outstanding — he was the second-joint top scorer — that it has prompted transfer requests from an array of European heavyweights.

Although Arsenal have turned down the interested parties’ advances, he cannot, as evidenced by the 2015/16 campaign, wholly shoulder Arsenal’s striking responsibility.

A striker is the need of the hour at Arsenal, given Danny Welbeck’s long-term injury and Theo Walcott’s ever-volatile form.

Arsene Wenger has acknowledged it by virtue of his unsuccessful attempt to sign last season’s Premier League Player of the Year winner in Jamie Vardy.

The Gunners have been linked with a host of world-class strikers to spearhead the attacking lines for Arsenal, but Alexandre Lacazette, Alvaro Morata, and Romelu Lukaku seem prospects too expensive to be pursued.

However, Arsenal should a cheaper alternative in snub Islam Slimani, whose club, according to various British news outlets, received a failed bid from Arsenal earlier this summer.


Playing style and misleading statistics

Widely acclaimed for his heading ability, he is also adept at making excellent runs in behind.

His goal-scoring record has always reflected his brilliant positioning, with the player grabbing 31 goals in 38 competitive starts for Sporting Clube de Portugal last season.

In many ways, Slimani is similar to Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud, who managed to notch 24 goals against tougher oppositions last season.

The N5 club are definitely are not desperate for an upgrade to the French striker as, at only 29 years of age, he is tipped to further polish his skills in the next few years.

Instead, they should eye a player, who can be a fine alternative to him — someone who can emulate Walcott’s early season heroics, albeit on a more consistent basis.


Lack of top-level experience and disciplinary issues

The Algerian striker had been playing in his country’s local league until only three years ago; whether he boasts the calibre to reciprocate the unforeseen success of his compatriot Riyad Mahrez on the English soil is uncertain.

In addition, at 28, Slimani is neither a world-beater nor a long-term answer to the striking woes.

He has only been phenomenal in the Primeira Liga, and success in Portugal hardly translates to laurels in the Premier League; Alex Ferguson, who brought down Bebe and Anderson Silva, can testify.

The largely one-dimensional Primeira Liga second top scorer has earned a plethora of flak for his brash attitude.

In addition to having developed a habit of protesting against every refereeing decision, Slimani has also intended malice upon the opposition players often, with his latest mischief being a forgettable incident that saw him elbow Benfica’s Andreas Samaris.

Aggression is slowly starting to venture the Emirates Stadium dressing room, with the likes of Francis Coquelin and Jack Wilshere proving aggressive individuals, but a Diego Costa-esque aggression that the Sporting striker exhibits shall not find its way into a Wenger team.


Previous interests and alternatives

Slimani has been previously linked with Crystal Palace — the club whose striking woes was so pathetic that they signed Emmanuel Adebayor — and Leicester City, who allegedly intended to sign him as a replacement for Leonardo Ulloa, a second string player.

The type of interest and the fact that, despite Sporting boss Jorge Jesus’ desperate marketing, no club have registered their interest in the past 30 days underlines his credentials as a striker.

Although Arsenal can land Slimani for as cheap as £23 million, they should look to sign an improvement on him on a record-breaking deal.

After signing a holding midfielder in Granit Xhaka for £35 million, they should be able to sign a striker for a heftier sum, given the ludicrous transfer fee striker’s command lately.


Written by Praveen Paramasivam

Follow Praveen on Twitter @49Praveen

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