Everything You Need to Know About Jean-Philippe Mateta - is he Palace's Answer?

Can Mateta be the man to finally bring in the goalscoring numbers they need?

Crystal Palace have a new striker in the form of Jean-Phillipe Mateta who arrives from Bundesliga club Mainz on an initial 18-month loan with an option to buy for £13.4m. An exciting signing for the Eagles who are starting to put together really attractive attacking options, with the likes of Wilfried Zaha, Eberechi Eze, Jordan Ayew, Christian Benteke, Michy Batshuayi and Andros Townsend already at their disposal.

Besides Zaha, no other Palace man has more than three league goals this season and Mateta will certainly be a welcomed addition to what is a team that has the joint-third lowest goals scored for a club outside the relegation zone in the Premier League.

Who is Mateta and what can he bring?

The 23-year-old came through the ranks at LB Châteauroux who are in the second division of France and in the summer of 2017, he joined French giants Olympique Lyon. Mateta immediately left on loan and spent a season at Le Havre, where he impressed netting 17 goals in 35 games in Ligue 2. Mateta impressed enough for Mainz to fork out £7.2m to Lyon, a fee that they would eventually double, if he is to be sold to Palace on the loan to buy option they currently have.

Mateta is also a stature of a man at 6 foot 3 so will offer an aerial and physical presence for Palace up top. He has also been known to be a major threat from set pieces which is something Palace get quite a lot of with the likes of Eze and Zaha in the team.

Despite being big physically, Mateta likes to dribble and can often hold onto the ball for too long which is often seen as one of his bigger weaknesses. Despite this, the Eagles finally might have the man that can put the ball in the back of net, especially with the supporting cast made up of the likes of Zaha and Eze.

Their need for goals

Crystal Palace have been crying out for a focal point to lead their attack for a number of years now. Benteke was the last player to consistently put the ball in the back of the net when he netted 15 Premier League goals back in the 2016/17 season under Sam Allardyce. Despite this, goals have dried up for the big Belgian, and have done for some time now, and he seems like a player who unfortunately looks a shadow of his former self.

Mateta’s best Bundesliga season was in 2018/19 where he netted 14 goals and contributed three assists in 34 games for the club as he helped keep them in the Bundesliga. This season, the Frenchman is the only reason why Mainz have had a little bit of hope in staying up, with Mateta scoring seven Bundesliga goals in 15 appearances, and there is not much doubt in them going down without him.

Palace have bought a goalscorer, that's for sure. But is it one which can transfer into the brutal, cut-throat nature of the Premier League? We've seen this all too often in years gone by, but Hodgson will be banking on goals from now until the summer.

Mateta’s arrival could see the Eagles line up with an exciting attacking trio made up of Eze, who has impressed so much since his summer arrival from Queens Park Rangers in the summer, and one of the best wingers in the bottom half of the Premier League in Zaha. A mouth-watering proposition if the big centre forward can continue his impressive form and one which could help Palace crack the top half.

By Harry Charlwood


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