Crystal Palace could finally end Mateta’s career by signing £30m “monster”

The Frenchman is sadly unable to supply the goals that the Eagles sorely need.

Crystal Palace hasn’t had a good start to the year; they were soundly defeated 5-0 by an injured Arsenal team shortly after they were eliminated from the FA Cup in a replay against Everton.

To make matters worse, the squad is now goalless in 2024 since they have not scored a single goal in those games.

Jean-Philippe Mateta, the striker who started two of those three games, hasn’t produced enough to warrant his spot in the squad anymore, not even as a backup, despite his occasional standout performances for the team since permanently joining from Mainz in the winter of 2022.

Given that the club has been associated with multiple number nines this month, it would seem that Roy Hodgson and Steve Parish feel the same way. Let’s examine three of them.

Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal is the first name on the list; he has been linked to a move to Selhurst Park on several occasions this month, reportedly for a cost of about £30 million.

The number 14 for the Gunners began his career at Chelsea’s Cobham academy before relocating to Hale End because the Blues thought he was surplus to requirements.

He has played his entire professional career at the Emirates, where he has established himself as a regular in the first team under Mikel Arteta, with the exception of a half-season loan to Leeds United in the 2019–20 campaign.

With 159 games played, he has a quite acceptable total of 38 goals and 10 assists for the North Londoners, meaning that over his career, he has scored a goal every 3.31 games.

He did, however, score two goals away at Chelsea and the game-winning goal against Manchester United in the closing moments of the previous season.

Even though he might not have many supporters, the pair’s fundamental statistics indicate that he would be a huge improvement over Mateta.

According to Aaron Catterson-Reid of The Athletic, the English “monster” has the Frenchman beat in every pertinent statistic—and he leads by a wide margin when it comes to things like non-penalty goals per 90 and goals per shot on target.

In the end, he obviously has some talent, and the Eagles should try to sign him if Arsenal decides to sell him this month.

Chelsea’s Armando Broja has been linked to a move to Palace on several occasions this month, going from a striker in north London to one in west London. The Blues have valued him at approximately £35 million, but a loan with a buyout option has also apparently been suggested.

The 22-year-old Albanian international has had fewer opportunity to play in the first squad since making his Blues debut, in contrast to Nketiah. But this is understandable given his advanced age, past history of injuries, and the fact that he has played a full season on loan at Southampton.

His performances for the Saints were regularly good and occasionally outstanding, and it was during this loan term that he first attracted the notice of the general football audience. In 38 appearances, he finished the stint with nine goals and one assist. While these aren’t particularly high stats, they do indicate a goal involvement every 3.8 games, which is a higher ratio than Mateta has produced in south London.

Football talent scout Jacek Kulig called the Slough-born striker “athletic and powerful” and a “complete forward” during this loan term, and it is difficult to argue with that assessment after seeing his season-ending highlight video.

Finally, if you’re not convinced, compare his underlying stats to Mateta’s; the Frenchman is significantly superior in all metric bar progressive passes, where he is tied with his possible opponents.

The final player on this list is from Spain—Madrid, to be exact—after Getafe’s Borja Mayoral was rumored to be heading to Selhurst Park earlier this month. While other teams, like Arsenal, may have greater financial resources, this player is definitely worth pursuing.

Only Artem Dovbyk of Girona and Jude Bellingham of Real Madrid have scored more goals in the league than the 26-year-old Spaniard, who has been making waves in his native country this season.

In addition to one assist for good measure, he has scored 13 goals in just 19 starts.

The former Roma star, dubbed a “poacher” by statistical analyst Ben Mattinson, might be just what the Eagles need this season to avoid relegation, since their 22 goals in goal this far is the third-lowest in the league.

Although finalizing the agreement would incur up to £39 million, the potential loss of so much more money in the event of relegation makes this look like too good to pass up.

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