On Thursday, the news finally broke that Crystal Palace have completed the signing of Mainz striker Jean-Philippe Mateta on an 18-month loan with an obligation to buy.
It won’t have come as too much of a surprise as the story had been circulating for some time, but most fans certainly wouldn’t have predicted that Steve Parish appears to have made a rather shrewd move in the transfer market.
Signing Mateta on loan has given Roy Hodgson try him out on a short-term basis without the need for spending huge sums of money on a transfer fee and wages.
After the Alexander Sorloth debacle which ended in the Danish striker departing Selhurst Park for £20m last year, it is this type of due diligence that suggests Parish has learned from the errors of his ways with a transfer strategy designed to end any further embarrassment and one that is considered vital to their hopes of staying above the Premier League relegation battle.
To Parish’s credit, he has backed Hodgson to the hilt by bringing in marquee signings like Eberechi Eze and Nathan Ferguson, but the Sorloth misstep is still a sour note for Palace over the past few years.
The centre-forward has become a bit of an issue for Palace heading into the second half of the season, as Christian Benteke is 30 and Michy Batshuayi can’t be trusted, especially in front of goal.
There have been several players who have struggled to cope in the Premier League having had stormers in the Bundesliga – former West Ham striker Sebastien Haller is a fine example as his struggles at the London Stadium were well-documented.
Mateta’s form has somewhat tailed off after he enjoyed a sensational start to the season, but anybody who watches the Bundesliga regularly knows how good he is, given his excellent goal return for Mainz.
The 23-year-old bagged ten goals and an assist in 17 appearances across all competitions this season. In an ideal world, you’d expect him to replicate this form for Palace.
Despite this, even in the event the transfer doesn’t work out as planned, the Eagles will still have gained a useful asset for a snip of the price they would have to pay to sign him on a permanent basis.
AND in other news, Crystal Palace should keep Christian Benteke or face consequences…