Islam Slimani is yet to join up with his new Leicester City team-mates, but Claudio Ranieri is ready to throw the striker straight into action against Liverpool on Saturday.
The Premier League champions agreed a €30million deal with Sporting CP to sign the Algeria international, who agreed a five-year deal at the King Power Stadium.
Slimani is set to link up with Leicester ahead of Saturday’s trip to Anfield and manager Ranieri has no hesitation in playing the 28-year-old despite his limited time with his team-mates.
“Slimani arrives this evening or tomorrow,” he said a pre-match news conference. “I didn’t see him yet.
“He’s available for Saturday. He could play. We bought him because we believe in his ability. It’s important he understands the Premier League.
“He cost a lot of money but if you see the market it’s a crazy market. I’m very happy [with the transfer window]. I was happy before, now we have a big, talented player. I’m very happy it was important to keep the team together.”
The Italian is further boosted by the news goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel is fit to play having undergone a small operation for a hernia injury that forced him to come off injured in the 2-1 win against Swansea City before the international window.
“He [Schmeichel] is ready to play,” he added. “It was a very little operation. It was good and he’s ready to play.”
Ranieri, who remains without Jeffrey Schlupp (muscle) and Nampalys Mendy (ankle) this weekend, ranks Liverpool among the favourites for the title this term and is expecting a tough encounter against Jurgen Klopp’s men.
“Liverpool are a very good team and on Saturday we have a very good match,” he added. “We go there to try and win. We are the champions. It will be difficult for us but also for them.
“Liverpool are one of the favourites the league. They are ready to fight for the title.”