Crystal Palace is reportedly close to turning striker Jean-Philippe Mateta’s loan move into a permanent transfer.
That’s according to a recent report by the Evening Standard, who claims the Eagles have been so impressed with the Mainz loanee, that they’d like to see him become a permanent fixture in the squad.
Mateta, 24, teamed up with Palace 18-months ago and has since gone on to score three goals in 16 appearances.
However, despite arriving under the guidance of former manager Roy Hodgson, it has been recently that the Frenchman has enjoyed his best spell in a red and blue shirt.
Now working under Patrick Vieira, Mateta has directly contributed to three goals in his last five appearances, in all competitions, including scoring the Eagles’ winning goal against Millwall in the FA Cup Third Round earlier this month.
Speaking following his FA Cup goal heroics, Vieira hailed the on-loan striker’s attitude.
“I think it’s been really challenging for him,” the French manager told reporters, as quoted by Football London.“Since he’s been at this football club, he’s not had that much chance to play.
“Since I arrived, with Christian and Edouard arriving, he had less time.
“But every time the team needed him to perform, he gave his best. He was rewarded by a couple of goals he scored, so he’s there, he’s with us, part of the team and the squad.
“He’s available, as anybody else, and after I have to make a decision, but he’s working really well every single day and making it really difficult for me to choose the front players.”
Mainz is understood to have included a clause in Mateta’s loan contract that would see Palace forced to pay £13m for his services if he successfully starts a certain amount of games, however, with that clause unlikely to be met, the Premier League side can now negotiate a lower fee.
Following what has been a rich vein of form, Vieira is now keen to sign Mateta permanently with the Eagles closing on a deal worth £8m – an almost 50 per cent reduction on the striker’s clause fee.