Lyon Sign Islam Slimani
— Olympique Lyonnais 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@OL_English) January 13, 2021
Big Boots to Fill
With normally prolific striker Moussa Dembele headed for La Liga, Lyon had a big pair of boots to fill with his replacement. They have done so with a player who has a proven track record in France. Slimani scored nine goals and assisted another seven in his 18 Ligue 1 appearances during a loan spell at Monaco last season. Both of those stats are already greater than his output in the Premier League with both Newcastle United and Leicester City, in less than half the games played. The 32-year-old forward could only score eight and assist six in 40 league appearances in England.
Lyon have clearly been impressed by his record and performances with Monaco and see him as ideal to replace Moussa Dembele. Dembele has been out of sorts this season, in terms of his goalscoring record anyway, delivering just the one goal in 16 appearances, granted he had only started six Ligue 1 games.
The French giants have been flying high without the marquee forward, sitting top of the league, having only lost the one game. They are one point ahead of Mauricio Pochettino‘s Paris Saint-Germain and Slimani will be crucial if Lyon are to hold off the Argentine on his return to management as he seeks a first league title as a manager.
Lyon Tried to Sign Slimani Last Summer
Club president Jean-Michel Aulas said: “We tried to sign Slimani last summer but it could not be done.
“He has signed for a season and a half. We’ve given Moussa Dembele the opportunity to go out on loan, with a purchase option.”
Lyon sporting director Juninho Pernambucano added: “I tried to bring in Slimani during the last transfer window. I’m very happy with his arrival. He will be welcomed into the group and I think he’ll soon be ready to play.
“Islam played at Monaco, which is a plus, but that wasn’t the decisive factor in signing him. We know that it is not easy for strikers to do well in this league. He speaks Portuguese, which is a bonus in terms of communication.”
Slimani Proud to Join Lyon
Upon joining the club, Slimani said: “I’m very happy and proud to join a big club like Lyon. I thank the president. When I was a child. I came to the area, to Givors, to play in tournaments with my team. I’m a combative person who gives everything on the pitch.
“I hope to bring experience and my fighting spirit. I’ve joined a team that’s top of the league, playing well and scoring goals. I want to help the club achieve its objectives. I want to do something good here.
“Lyon is a big club and near the top of the table every season, playing to participate in the Champions League.
“I spoke to Djamel Benlamri a lot. He told me a lot of good things about the club, the players and the coach. I’m here to help the team. Even if I start as a substitute, get in the game and help the team, the coach won’t let me sit on the bench,” a confident Slimani concluded.
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