By his own admission, Michy Batshuayi’s second spell at Crystal Palace has been a frustrating one.

And the Chelsea loanee was left tearing out his blonde-dipped dreadlocks after Monday’s most-avoidable of 1-0 defeats away at Burnley.

After all, if Batshuayi had brought his shooting boots to Turf Moor, Palace would surely have avoided defeat in a game that slipped agonisingly through their fingers.

20/21 Premier League Table According To Football Manager 2021

20/21 Premier League Table According To Football Manager 2021

Roy Hodgson’s £33 million front man has found the net for fun when linking up with the Belgian national team of late but, at club level, he remains as erratic as ever in the final third.

On numerous occasions, Batshuayi stood and watched as presentable openings came and went in Lancashire and, even after being gifted a chance to open his account by a dreadful Dwight McNeil back-pass, he managed to fire straight at an onrushing Nick Pope.

Just to rub salt into the wounds, another striker linked with a summer move to Selhurst Park is not suffering from the same kind of profligacy in front of goal.

Photo by Tom Weller/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

According to the Sun (15 August, page 61), Crystal Palace wanted Jean-Phillipe Mateta and he could have been theirs, if the Londoners had forked out the £15 million Mainz were demanding for a man whose price-tag diminished after a 2019/20 season ruined by injury.

If Palace come calling for Mateta again next year, you can guarantee that he will cost a damn sight more than £15 million.

Because the 6ft 4ins Frenchman has rediscovered his form and fitness in remarkable style, producing a performance Robert Lewandowski would have been proud of as Mainz won a Bundesliga game at the eighth time of asking away at Freiburg this weekend.

While Batshuayi fell to pieces when one-on-one with Pope, Mateta finished an almost identical chance without breaking sweat inside two minutes in Freiburg.

That was the first of a ruthless hat-trick from a man who has now managed 10 goals in just seven matches this season, for a side still mired in a relegation battle.

You can see why Palace took a punt on Batshuayi. He has been there and done it before in red and blue and, in this market, the chance to sign a quality striker without spending a penny on transfer fees understandably holds plenty of appeal.

But the numbers speak for themselves. Less than three months into the season, Mateta is outscoring Batshuayi 10-0.

Photo by Tom Weller/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

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