Aston Villa are hoping that Leicester City will cut Islam Slimani’s loan with AS Monaco short and send him to them for the rest of the season, as reported by The Athletic.
It is said that the Algerian striker is happy to leave the French club, for which he has scored seven goals and assisted a further seven in 11 starts and two substitute appearances, helping them to their current position of eighth.
Those goals in such a low number of games will be an obvious sign of encouragement for Dean Smith and those connected with Villa, if he does eventually join.
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However, there is another part of his game that could come in use, something that Wesley was not able to provide before getting injured: key passes.
The two strikers’ differing effectiveness in this area can be seen in the infographic below, looking at their respective records in the last ten league games.
Slimani made as many key passes in one of those games – a 4-1 win against Brest in which he got three assists – as Wesley did across this whole period.
Villa are in desperate need of a striker following the Brazilian’s injury, as shown by the fact that they played without a recognised frontman against Manchester City.
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While many at the club will be excited about the number of goals he has scored, this ability to create chances for his teammates will surely be attracting the attention of Jack Grealish.
The Villa talisman has already been impressive this season, scoring six times and registering five assists from 20 Premier League starts.
However, there can be a suggestion made that the team is over-reliant on him to be the team’s creative hub, something that The Coaches’ Voice pointed out from the loss against Man City.
By bringing somebody else in who has shown an ability to carve out chances for their teammates, not only could Villa have someone to provide Grealish with more opportunities, but this could also help take some of that pressure off of him.
Meanwhile, Grealish’s comment after the Man City loss offered a damning indictment of something in the Villa changing room.