Newcastle United’s new striker Islam Slimani is almost available for Rafael Benitez to pick.

Ayoze Perez may be the most likely player to lose his place in Newcastle United’s starting line-up, with Islam Slimani edging ever closer to full fitness.

Slimani was brought to Newcastle during the January transfer window on loan from Leicester City, but he has been unable to show the St. James’ Park crowd what he can do yet.

The Algerian international has been kept out with injury since arriving, but is expected to return to full fitness soon.

When Slimani is available, he is expected to come straight into Newcastle’s team and that puts Perez’s place under considerable pressure.

Slimani could also replace Dwight Gayle, but the 26-year-old put in arguably his best performance of the campaign against Manchester United last weekend.

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And that means Perez may be the most likely Newcastle player to miss out when Slimani is available.

Perez has played regularly for the Magpies this term, but his goalscoring record has been poor.

Benitez is a big fan of Perez, with his work-rate earning him plenty of praise, but he just hasn’t been productive enough in an attacking sense to justify his place.

And it looks most likely that Perez will be taken out of Newcastle’s line-up, when Slimani does make it off the treatment table.

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