BY SAM SMITH
New Crystal Palace signing Jean-Philippe Mateta has revealed he was a long-term transfer target for Roy Hodgson.
The Eagles have taken the Frenchman on an 18-month loan from German Bundesliga side Mainz 05 – subject to international clearance – with an option to make it permanent.
Palace were linked with Mateta in the summer transfer window. The 23-year-old told Palace TV: “I’ve spoken to the manager on the phone but I want to speak to him face to face.
“He said he wants me. But I know that he wants me because he didn’t just want me now, he has wanted me before. I know this manager, he is a good trainer. It’s a good team.
“I’m very happy to come to Crystal Palace. I’ve known about this club for a long time because I have a lot of family here [in England]. It’s an old club in England. I’m looking forward to training, I’m very happy.
“It has been my dream to play in the Premier League since I was a child. Now, I can play in the Premier League and reassure the fans of Crystal Palace what I can do.”
Mateta started his career in France with Chateauroux and earned a move to Lyon – but failed to make an impact. He signed for Mainz in 2018 and has thrived in the Bundesliga. The former France U21 international has 10 goals in 17 appearances this season.
“In France I played just the second league. I played just two games in the second league,” he said.
“In Germany it is very tough, every time you are pressing high. In France it is more calm, more technical – but in Germany it is very intense.
“I have friends who play in the Premier League and they say it is very intensive. Physically, it is hard.”
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.