Leeds United have seemingly been pipped to the post to sign French striker Jean-Philippe Mateta amid advanced talks with Crystal Palace. BBC Sport reports that the Eagles are close to agreeing terms for an 18-month loan deal, seeing the 23-year-old make the move from Mainz.
The Whites have been scouring the transfer market for a forward who can contribute to Patrick Bamford’s heavy burden of carrying his team’s attack. According to French outlet Le Phoceen, Victor Orta was keeping tabs on Mateta, who has been valued at about £13.5million.
But with a move to a Premier League rival looming, Leeds must be kicking themselves that they couldn’t get a deal over the line.
The Yorkshire outfit spent a hefty sum of money over the summer on six new permanent contracts. The arrivals included the likes of Raphinha, Robin Koch and new No.1 Illan Meslier. However, not all of the new recruits have made the desired impact and Leeds are now forced to return to the market.
Bamford leads the way as the club’s top scorer this season by some margin. The 27-year-old currently has ten goals to his name, with the next highest being Mateusz Klich on three, as per BBC Sport.
Adding another proven goalscorer to their ranks would have hugely benefitted Bamford and potentially changed Leeds’ entire attacking dynamic. Mateta has netted ten goals in 17 appearances for Mainz this season, very similar to the Whites’ goal-poacher.
Bielsa more often than not sticks to his comfort zone of a 4-1-4-1 formation, which many Premier League sides appear to have figured out. Lately, the Leeds attack has been easy to nullify, with just one goal on the board in their last five matches across all competitions, via Sofascore.
Changing up their tactics and pairing Bamford up with a 6 ft 4 goal-getter would have been an ideal move for Leeds, but now they will likely be preparing to defend against Mateta’s threat instead.