As one of the smaller clubs in the English top-flight, Crystal Palace are used to being an underdog. The London factor helps in attracting talent, but for years Palace have been a club who have had to box clever. This has led to some overpaying across seasons, with players signing deals that are probably beyond their contribution just to ensure they pick the Eagles in the first place. This summer has seen a major reset, though, opening up the purse strings for what feels like a pretty comprehensive squad rebuild. One player who is not likely to be part of that, though, is on-loan striker Jean-Philippe Mateta.
The France forward, once of the Lyon academy and a former hitman for Mainz, has failed to meet expectation in England. The 24-year-old arrived in January from Mainz on an 18-month loan deal with the view to making it a permanent contract. However, the need for smart use of the loan system and a general lack of impact means that new coach Patrick Vieira might look to cancel the deal with Mainz early. Though it would likely impose a penalty on the team for doing so, it is seen as the best case scenario.
Mateta is one of several players on loan, including Connor Gallagher from Chelsea. This means they need to come up with a space on the loan market, with RB Leipzig star Ademola Lookman targeted for a transfer on loan. Lookman enjoyed a great season for Fulham, and would offer a more likely guarantee of a return – as well as another young English star to build around.
With two loans per squad in the Premier League, then, Mateta might become the player who is let go to make space.
Reiss Nelson close to Palace move
One move that looks set to happen in the affirmative, though, is the arrival of Reiss Nelson. The young England man enjoyed a highly successful spell on loan at TSG Hoffenheim, but has failed to progress beyond that point in his career. An unfulfilling run of games at Arsenal has left Nelson likely moving to the exit door. The 21-year-old has been told by Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta that he is free to go.
As such, the club is expected to push for a deal for the player and this one would be permanent. It would offer Palace a youthful replacement for one of many departed wide players, including that of Andros Townsend. With the need for new blood, the arrival of a young domestic prospect would further bolster the idea that Palace are trying to build a team of young English-born and based players who can make a big success (and profit) in the years to come.
Expect changes to arrive in the near future, then, with one going out in the form of Mateta and another arriving in Nelson. This is just another part of a long, expansive summer for Palace fans to enjoy.