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3 reasons Watford must add Leicester hitman to their ranks

| 18.08.2017

Hornets keen to get their hands on Algerian ace

Watford boss Marco Silva is looking to revamp a side that ended last season in dismal form, and his main target right now is Leicester City striker Islam Slimani.

The Algerian’s asking price is – according to some sources – as high as £30m. But while that dwarfs the Hornets’ usual transfer outlay, there’s plenty of reason to suggest he’d be worth every single penny at Vicarage Road…and then some.

Here’s why the Coral News team think Silva should move heaven and earth to secure Slimani’s signature.

Game-time permitting, his scoring record is immense…

Last season’s seven-goal haul for Leicester doesn’t look great on paper. But the stats prove that Slimani was never really given adequate time to gather momentum. The Foxes forward received just 17 starts in the East Midlands, from which his seven goal return was solid, if unspectacular.

However, his record from the previous campaign, spent at Sporting Lisbon, is truly special.

The forward scored 31 times in 46 games, including strikes in his two Champions League starts – against CSKA Moscow and Besiktas respectively – as well as four goals in the club’s two meetings with domestic giants FC Porto.

A mid-season run of seven consecutive league starts saw him chalk up an astonishing nine goals in seven games.

That marked the fourth time the Algerian had reached double-figures in a league campaign since 2010, and saw him arrive in the Premier League with a stunning career total of 85 goals in 186 games.

He’s worked well with Silva before

Slimani won his first major club honour in 2015 with Sporting, as the Lisbon club lifted the Taca de Portugal. And that success took place under the regime of then boss…Marco Silva.

The imposing hitman chalked up 15 goals in 33 games under the now-Hornets manager, including a crucial strike in the cup final, as Verde e brancos came from 2-0 down to beat SC Braga.

Add to that a series of vital winners in the Primeira Liga that season, and it’s obvious this is a manager he thrives under. So a reunion could be just the ticket.

He’d be an ideal fit for Gray

Rewind 18 months, and it was all about the strike duo of Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney for Watford. But with the Nigerian having long-since left for the lucrative Chinese Super League and Deeney enduring a couple of sizeable goal droughts last term, a new strike pairing is needed.

In summer signing Andre Gray, the Hertfordshire club now have a pacy and tricky striker, but one without an aerial presence or a huge amount of consistency.

That means the powerful Slimani would be an ideal partner for the former Burnley man, with his strength, experience and big-game pedigree. Oh, and with sustained game-time and the right partner up front, you can surely add a raft of goals to that…

Next up for Watford is a visit to AFC Bournemouth on Saturday, with 14/5 for the visitors to take all three points from the Vitality Stadium.

But could we see the strike duo of Gray-Slimani line up for that clash? Time will tell…

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Dave Burin