Crystal Palace are once again showing an interest in signing Jean-Philippe Mateta from Bundesliga strugglers Mainz, as reported by the Independent.
Thursday’s 0-0 draw between Arsenal and Palace rather summed up how things are going for Christian Benteke at the moment.
Roy Hodgson’s first-choice number nine led the line impressively, dominating Rob Holding and David Luiz for long spells at the Emirates. But, yet again, there was something rather important missing from Benteke’s game; goals.
The £27 million Belgium international fired a glorious chance into the stands before seeing a trademark bullet header tipped around the corner by Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno.
Whether Mateta would have taken those opportunities is debatable, but the 6ft 4ins Frenchman has comfortably outscored Benteke this season – even if he has failed to find the net in seven Bundesliga matches since a November hat-trick against Freiburg.
A tally of ten goals in 17 matches is still impressive, especially when you consider that Mainz are joint-bottom of the German top-flight table.
The Independent reports that Mateta is now back on Crystal Palace’s wish list, five months after the Sun (15 August, page 61) claimed that a £15 million summer move to Selhurst Park was on the cards.
Signing a long-term transfer target in January, however, will be easier said than done.
For Mainz, their Bundesliga status is on the line and, if relegation is staring you in the face, it is not usually a good idea to sell your top scorer.
“He’s got a contract (until 2023). He is a very important and good player. As of today, we’re planning (to keep) this player. At the moment, there is no reason to say he has to go,” sporting director Christian Heidel told SportBuzzer.