Not only did Leicester manage to hold onto Jamie Vardy during the summer, they also added £29 million worth of new goalscoring ability to their squad in the form of Islam Slimani.
Vardy is already up and running for the season after scoring in each of his last two Premier League games and the man who hit the net 24 times last season should be virtually assured of his place.
Leicester’s owner Vichi Srivaddhanaprabha is unlikely to want to see his expensive new purchase warming the bench either, so can manager Claudio Ranieri get the pair working in tandem?
Leicester City striker Islam Slimani boards the team plane for their Champions League trip to Brugge. pic.twitter.com/ubWQ8my7ZB
— DZ Sport (@dzsport_en) September 13, 2016
It would seem that as a front two, the duo might be well suited to each other.
Vardy’s searing pace should compliment his new team mate’s aerial ability. Slimani progressed rapidly during his three seasons with Sporting Lisbon and in some ways his late rise to prominence is very similar to the now famous Vardy story.
The Algerian netted 31 times in all competitions last season. A high proportion of those goals were headers and his style is contrasting to the Englishman. He has all the qualities to offer an alternative to Vardy but also aid him greatly.
The 28-year-old is a physical handful. Leicester fans and Ranieri will love his willingness to put a shift in and leave opposition defenders feeling like they’ve been battered.
The two together have the potential to become a centre-back’s nightmare. The issue is however, that with the Foxes favouring a counter-attacking style, can they really afford to play with two number nines?
Claudio Ranieri has confirmed that new signing Islam Slimani will be available for Club Brugge on Wednesday. pic.twitter.com/tnsB8l7qxl
— BBC Leicester Sport (@BBCRLSport) September 11, 2016
Slimani certainly has the ability to hold-up the ball and his flick-ons could help release Vardy but in reality, leaving two men up the pitch when defending might compromise Leicester’s ability to remain compact and wait for the time to break – a trait which was crucial in their title success.
While using both men might prove successful, it may ultimately require the tinkerman to get tinkering – something he largely resisted for the entire campaign last year.
The sale of N’Golo Kante means Ranieri will need to find a solution anyway, so a slight tactical shift could be on the cards. Leicester’s stuttering form means he can’t afford to waste time.
The demands of European football this term will mean that last season’s close-knit group of champions will also be required to adapt to the idea of large squad football and increased rotation.
This means that all of the forwards available to Ranieri should at least get chances to impress.