Mainz will consider the sale of hat-trick hero Jean-Philippe Mateta if the Bundesliga outfit receive a massive offer, sporting director Rouven Schroder told BILD of the reported Crystal Palace target.
It took eight games for the 05ers to get off the mark this season.
But, after seven matches without a win, Mainz finally picked up three much-needed points during a trip to fellow strugglers Freiburg over the weekend.
It was no coincidence that their barren run came to an end on the day their star striker produced a performance Robert Lewandowski and Erling Haaland would have been proud of.
Mateta took his tally to seven in eight Bundesliga matches (and 10 in nine across all competitions) with the most ruthless of hat-tricks in Baden-Wurttemberg.
And the irony will not have been lost on Crystal Palace fans that their £15 million target produced the finest performance of his senior career as Chelsea loanee Michy Batshuayi endured another night to forget in a 1-0 defeat at Burnley (Sun, 15 August, page 61).
Understandably, Mainz are desperate to keep hold of their star striker, with Mateta their best hope of avoiding relegation.
Then again, if Palace make an offer they cannot refuse, things could change quite quickly.
“A sale in winter is unthinkable! We need him to achieve our goals. (But if we receive an outrageous offer) we will have to sit down and discuss it,” Schroder explained.
“He feels comfortable with us and is a regular starter. He should go through the season with us – then we’ll see (whether he stays or goes).”
Rangy and quick despite his 6ft 4ins frame, Mateta looks a perfect fit for Roy Hodgson’s lone-striker system.
But, with his price-tag likely to go through the roof if he maintains this superb start to the season, Crystal Palace might soon be regretting their failure to tie up a bargain £15 million deal when they had the chance.