Leicester finally get their man with £30m signing of Islam Slimani

Leicester City finally sealed their primary target of the transfer window on Wednesday night after Islam Slimani completed a medical in Italy prior to his move to the Premier League champions, with the Algeria striker making the switch for a club record £30m from Sporting Lisbon on a five-year deal.

Claudio Ranieri’s preparations for the club’s first Champions League campaign had already seen them break their transfer record twice this summer and offload the man to hold the previous record, Andrej Kramaric, to the German club Hoffenheim.

With the fee they have paid for Slimani more than treble the amount spent on Kramaric in January 2015, Leicester’s owners will be hoping for more success from the 28-year-old born in Algiers than the Croatia striker who managed just two goals in his 15 Premier League appearances.

Having first identified him as the man Ranieri wanted to lead the line alongside Jamie Vardy at the end of May, negotiations with Sporting proved difficult to finalise, with the Portuguese club refusing to budge from their original valuation of £30m for a player who scored 27 league goals last season. Leicester had tried to include midfielder Adrien Silva in the deal as well for a combined fee approaching £60m but were told they would only sell the players separately, with a move for the Portugal midfielder looking unlikely to be completed in time to beat Wednesday night’s deadline.

“To join a team like Leicester City is a huge honour and I can’t wait to get started. I’ve always wanted to play my football in the Premier League and to get the opportunity to do that with the reigning champions was something I simply could not turn down,” said Slimani.

The striker, who moved to Portugal in 2013 from the Algerian side CR Belouizdad, scored twice for his country at the 2014 World Cup. He flew to Bologna for his medical with the Leicester club doctor and is expected to return to Algiers for Algeria’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Lesotho later this week.

Having already added the Nigeria forward Ahmed Musa for £18m after the arrival of midfielder Nampalys Mendy for £13m, Leicester have been in the market for another striker for some time and also inquired about the availability of the Argentinian Guido Carrillo of Monaco.

West Bromwich Albion had a bid rejected last week, although Slimani made it clear that he favoured a move to the King Power Stadium to link up with his international team-mate Riyad Mahrez.

Attempts to offload the Argentinian striker Leonardo Ulloa to West Brom or Sunderland did not materialise, meaning that Ranieri now has a number of attacking options, including Slimani, Vardy, Musa and Shinji Okazaki.

Meanwhile, Besiktas have signed the Switzerland midfielder Gokhan Inler in a £3m three-year deal. The 32-year-old played just 13 matches last season having arrived from Napoli for £5m last summer.

A statement on Besiktas’s website said Inler’s contract is for an initial two years with the option of a third if he plays in 23 matches in his second season.

This article was originally published in The Guardian    

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