Crystal Palace have had some rotten luck in recent years when it comes to centre-forwards.
It’s almost as though the second their big-money, sparkly new frontman steps through the Selhurst Park door, he completely forgets where the back of the net is. And even more frustratingly in the case of Alexander Sorloth, as soon as he leaves he can’t stop scoring and is linked with Real Madrid.
With Christian Benteke, Jordan Ayew and Michy Batshuayi mustering just four Premier League goals between them this season, Roy Hodgson has delved into the transfer market, with France Under-21 international Jean-Philippe Mateta arriving at the club.
The 23-year-old has signed on an initial 18-month loan, with the Eagles obliged to make the move permanent for a £13.4m fee once he makes15 Premier League starts.
So who is this new hotshot striker? Here’s everything you need to know about the Frenchman.
Alright, so his dad didn’t play for Crystal Palace, but he was a footballer.
Mateta’s father left his family at 22 in order to pursue his footballing career, moving to Liege in Belgium. He would go on to represent Congo at international level, however, multiple injuries seriously hampered his development.
He was forced to undergo numerous operations on his thigh which eventually began to take their toll, and at just 24 years of age he was forced to retire.
It’s not quite on the same level as being called ‘the next Messi’, but it’s still high praise.
Mateta moved to a number of different French academies as a youngster, before Ligue 1 giants Lyon spotted his evident potential and snapped him up at the age of 19.
The Frenchman’s towering frame, neat holdup play and knack for scoring goals saw him likened to Inter frontman Romelu Lukaku, and it’s easy to see why when you watch him play.
Well this bodes well for all you Palace fans.
Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting the Eagles are a bad team, but they’re certainly not going to be troubling the top four any time soon, and Mateta’s record for Mainz this season is brilliant considering how poor they’ve been.
Despite only goal difference separating them from bottom of the table – a position currently held by Schalke, a team who recently recorded their first league win in nearly a year – the Frenchman has notched better than a goal every other game in all competitions this campaign.
Mateta departs Mainz as their top scorer by some distance, with ten goals in 17 games in all competitions this season, including seven in 15 Bundesliga outings.
Most good strikers have one team that they just love playing against, and Mateta is no different.
The Frenchman recorded the first hat-trick of his career last season as he hit three against Freiburg, only to then repeat the feat this season – in just 38 minutes!
He notched a first-half hat-trick against Christian Streich’s side, with his trio of strikes displaying some of his best attributes including instinct, awareness and composure.
Mateta isn’t shy when it comes to naming his idol, with the Frenchman openly discussing his desire to emulate the goalscoring exploits of a certain Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
And it’s easy to see why he idolises the enigmatic Swede (aside from the fact Ibrahimovic is really good at football and scores loads of goals, obviously).
At 6ft 4″ the Crystal Palace new boy is the same height as the Milan frontman, and the flare and audacity he’s shown during his time at Mainz isn’t too dissimilar to a young Ibrahimovic.
*Disclaimer – we are NOT suggesting he is going to score as many as Zlatan, so don’t start the witch hunt when he scores three in next 18 months*.