West Ham suffered their first league defeat since boxing day on Saturday, as their lack of attacking depth was brutally exposed in a 3-1 loss to Brighton.
The Hammers could only bring in Jordan Hugill on deadline day after losing both Andre Ayew and Diafra Sakho, and manager David Moyes would have imagined what could have been had they landed Leicester City’s Islam Slimani.
The 29-year-old moved to Newcastle on the last day of the January transfer window, but it has emerged that West Ham thought they had won the race to have the Algerian on loan till summer.
Moyes told Sky Sports: “Slimani was agreed on Tuesday night and it didn’t come off on Wednesday. I only woke up on Wednesday to be told that it wasn’t going to happen.”
Newcastle pipped the east Londoners to the signature of the former Sporting Lisbon man, and he’s expected to make his debut when they play Crystal Palace on Sunday.
The Toons parted with a £2million loan fee and will also cover all his wages. It’s a deal boss Rafa Benitez was keen to seal, and the Spaniard told Newcastle Chronicle: “I watched him in Portugal and he did well, but he’s a player that if you have Jamie Vardy up front and the way he is playing, it’s very difficult to play ahead of him.
“But he is a player who knows the league, he’s strong, he can run behind defenders, different things that we don’t have.
“We knew about him but, when Leicester paid £30million for him, we started thinking about other things – but then when we heard he was available on loan, he became an option.
“He’s a good signing. Clubs were pushing until the last minute so we had to do it quickly and we had to do it well, it was not easy.”
The Toons have struggled in front of goal and will hope Slimani’s goals can boost their survival chances.
West Ham could be left to rue missing out on him, though, as they have now found themselves just 3 points above the relegation zone.