Arsenal switch targets, line up Lisbon’s Islam Slimani

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Arsenal’s search for an answer to their goalscoring problems has taken them to Portugal.

Sporting Lisbon’s Islam Slimani, 28, was a target for Leicester City during the drawn-out saga over 29 year-old Jamie Vardy’s future but their interest fell away when it became clear the England striker was staying at the King Power.

Algerian international Slimani has scored 56 goals in 108 appearances for Sporting since joining in 2013 but enjoyed his most prolific season to date when he netted 31 goals in 44 appearances during 2015/16. It brought him to the attention of Europe’s biggest clubs and with a dearth of talent, Arsène Wenger is prepared to move for the Sporting striker.

Liverpool have previously shown an interest in the player but were put off by Sporting’s asking price. Cash-rich Arsenal, buoyed by the moneys from the new Premier League broadcasting deal, are unlikely to be deterred as they seek to find competition for Olivier Giroud.

With Danny Welbeck likely to miss most of next season, there are concerns that the French striker may hit another barren run. His fifteen game goalless spell was held to be a key reason why the Gunners title challenge fell away in the spring.

Slimani, with 23 goals in 43 appearances for the Algerian international team, has the right experience and consistency in front of goal to provide stiff competition for places in an area where it has been sorely lacking at the Emirates.

 

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