Leicester chase another Algerian who can do better than Vardy

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Claudio Ranieri clearly has the intention of doing his transfer business early as he looks to build an even stronger squad to not only defend the Premier League title next season, but also make a good fist at competing in the Champions League.

Goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler has already been signed by Leicester to provide some competition to Kasper Schmeichel and the latest gossip links a striker capable of sharing some of the goal burden with Jamie Vardy.

However, if current Sporting Lisbon boss Jorge Jesus is to be believed, Islam Slimani is capable of substantially trumping the 24 top-flight goals that Vardy netted in Leicester’s title-winning season.

Jesus said: “Vardy was this year’s revelation, people say that Slimani wouldn’t be able to play for Leicester, but I disagree. In England if he is guided by a manager who knows a lot about football, he can score double the goals Vardy does.”

Slimani scored 27 times in the Portuguese top flight in the latest season as Sporting finished two points adrift of champions Benfica, but has a buy-out clause in his contract that means he is free to move if someone pays €30m (£23.25m).

But considering no player has scored more than 31 goals in a Premier League season since the division was reduced to 20 teams, Jesus may have been a tad optimistic with his predictions for the Algerian.

Either way, there is no denying that he would prove a viable asset to the Foxes as they prepare for a far fuller fixture list in 2016/17.

He may not have the blistering acceleration of Vardy, but his attributes are largely similar, while he is another late bloomer. The 27-year-old didn’t get a move to Europe until 2013.

Slimani is energetic, mobile, capable of working the channels and a keen runner into space behind defences. This was no more obvious than at the 2014 World Cup in Algeria’s clash with Germany, as Manuel Neuer had to be at his sweeper-keeping best to prevent him continuously bursting through on goal.

Where he differs from Vardy is that Slimani is a more rounded striker, in the sense that he is a bigger physical specimen capable of bringing others into play and more of a threat when balls are crossed from wide areas.

It is additionally possible that Slimani could even be a replacement for Vardy, with the England striker reportedly a transfer target of Arsenal.

What is also worth bearing in mind is that the wanted striker has already gained a good understanding with Riyad Mahrez through their time together in the Algerian national team.

Leicester are 25/1 to win the Premier League in 2016/17 and the signing of Slimani would undoubtedly considerably improve their relatively small squad.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.