Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers admitted that he expected to see Islam Slimani leave over the summer amid interest from West Bromwich Albion, while speaking to the Mercury.
A man who became the Foxes’ £29 million record signing back in 2016 will be conspicuous by his absence in tonight’s Europa League opener with Zorya Luhansk at the King Power Stadium.
Leicester were so certain that Slimani would be on his way out the door before the October 5 transfer deadline that Rodgers, at the time, had no qualms about omitting the Algerian international from his European roster.
But, after rejecting a loan bid from West Brom and failing to attract any permanent offers, Slimani is now stuck in limbo until January.
“The only one is Slimani who is unfortunately not in our European squad,” Rodgers explains.
“The squad had to be handed in much earlier than the Premier League squad, and unfortunately we were thinking that he wasn’t going to be here. That’s the reason why (he has been left out).”
Slimani made his first top-flight appearance in Leicester colours since the 2017/18 season against Aston Villa on Sunday and maybe there is a future for him in the West Midlands after all.
As Rodgers himself admitted to the Mercury this week, the 6ft 2ins targetman offers an entirely different kind of attacking threat with neither Jamie Vardy nor Kelechi Iheanacho capable of thriving with their back to goal.
Slimani produced an impressive nine goals and seven assists in just 14 Ligue 1 starts during a loan spell at Monaco last term.