According to The Athletic, Jean-Philippe Mateta has not been convincing in Crystal Palace training under both Roy Hodgson and Patrick Vieira.
What’s the story?
Well, the Frenchman joined Crystal Palace in January 2021, although he has only made four starts in the space of a year.
The Athletic understands the Eagles will be forced to turn his 18-month loan deal into a permanent move should he make 19 starts, which would cost €15m (£12m) on top of the €3m (£2m) loan fee.
Interestingly, The Athletic claim the reason behind Mateta’s lack of starts is due to his performances in training.
It is said that the 24-year-old has not been sufficiently impressive in training to convince Hodgson or Vieira to start him more often.
In fairness, the form of Christian Benteke, coupled with the £14m arrival of Odsonne Edouard, hasn’t helped Mateta’s situation.
The Athletic add that Saint-Etienne are eager to sign the towering striker, although Crystal Palace will not sell unless a replacement is found.
Will Jean-Philippe Mateta stay at Crystal Palace?
In our view, it all comes down to how successful Crystal Palace are in their pursuit of Arsenal forward Eddie Nketiah.
According to The Times, the Eagles are in talks with the Gunners over a deal for the 22-year-old, who Vieira tried to sign back in the summer.
Nketiah’s contract expires in June, so it’s certainly possible that he ends up at Selhurst Park this month.
If that move does materialise, then we feel Crystal Palace will send Mateta back to Mainz 05 – he isn’t a great fit for Vieira’s style of play.
Whatever happens, the Frenchman has made himself a cult hero in SE25, with two of his three goals coming against Brighton and Millwall.