Crystal Palace failed to break into the top half of the table on Friday night after conceding a late goal at the Amex Stadium against Brighton, and it seems that there’s some frustration off the pitch for the Selhurst Park faithful as well.
Sky Sports journalist Dharmesh Sheth has revealed an update on the mounting speculation surrounding a potential move to Palace for Eddie Nketiah this month, outlining one scenario which must materialise before the Arsenal striker moves to the other side of London.
Speaking on the Sky Sports News Transfer Show, Sheth claimed: “Discussions ongoing about a proposed move for Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah to Crystal Palace. Any move this month could depend on the future of Jean-Philippe Mateta, who’s on loan from Mainz.”
Jean-Philippe Mateta has been linked with a moves elsewhere ever since the transfer window opened, with a move to Saint-Etienne one of the strongest links for the on-loan Mainz striker, but nothing has materialised as of yet.
Vieira gave a frustrated response when asked in his pre-match press conference about the potential signing of Nketiah, saying: ‘He is an Arsenal player and his manager makes it clear he will stay at Arsenal.”
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta spoke earlier this week about the young forward, insisting that “he’s going to stay here with us” during his press conference prior to Thursday’s Carabao Cup clash at Liverpool, in which Nketiah featured in the starting line-up.
Vieira will be disappointed with the developments, as it was revealed that the £9m-rated striker has been a long-term target for the south London club. The 22-year-old also fits the profile of the type of player that the Eagles manager is looking to add – when you look at the signings the Frenchman has already made at Palace, young players with experience at the top of their game is a common theme.
Conor Gallagher (21) was already proving himself as a promising young player in the England under-21s, earning plenty of Premier League experience on loan at West Brom from Chelsea, where he had become a standout player through their academy.
Odsonne Edouard (23) was the top scorer in the Scottish Premiership for two years in a row whilst playing for title-challenging Celtic and Marc Guehi (21) was snapped up from Champions League holders Chelsea, excelling on loan when he helped Swansea to secure a spot in the Championship play-off final last year.
Nketiah has made 73 appearances for Arsenal, scoring a goal every 163 minutes for the first team during that time. He also has 17 caps for England under-21s, scoring 16 goals so far and becoming captain of the team last year, so it’s little wonder that Vieira was so interested in him.
However, with Mateta’s future seemingly needed to be sorted first before Palace can entertain any hope of landing Nketiah, the Eagles manager may well be raging over the current state of affairs and could have to wait until the summer, when the Arsenal striker is out of contract.
In other news: Vieira could sign this forward as an alternative to Nketiah