​​Newcastle have been handed a blow in their pursuit of Leicester City striker Islam Slimani, with Watford now believed to be in a better position to complete the signing.

The Algerian forward joined the Foxes on a five-year deal in 2016 as a club-record acquisition and came in with huge expectations. Yet he has failed to cement himself as the club's first-choice, and is still some distance behind Jamie Vardy in the pecking order.


Slimani has only made two starts in the ​Premier League this season, scoring only once, and it is believed that he ​will be playing his football elsewhere by the end of the month.

The Magpies were reported to have shown interest in signing the player, but the club's failed takeover may have set them back a bit, with Rafa Benitez no longer expected to receive a substantial kitty with which to bring new players in.

​Watford, who were also monitoring, have since stepped up their interest, according to The Times, and are keen to begin talks with the former Premier League champions over the striker's availability.

There are reports of Turkish side Besiktas being keen on ridding ​Leicester of the 29-year-old as well. 

Club president Fikret Orman was at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday night, presumably to watch Slimani play against Fleetwood Town in the FA Cup. And discussions are already thought to be ongoing.

New manager Claude Puel, meanwhile, has admitted that the Foxes have too many strikers in their squad. And various sources indicate that he is willing to listen to offers for all of them, save Vardy and Shinji Okazaki.