Monday, March 27, 2023

Leeds United Set To Face Defeat In Pursuit Of Bundesliga Striker: A Massive Blow For Bielsa?

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

According to Talksport, Leeds United are set to miss out on Jean-Philippe Mateta. The Mainz forward was courted by the newly-promoted Premier League outfit, but have been beaten by league rivals Crystal Palace in his pursuit. Mateta is expected to move to Selhurst Park on an 18-month loan deal, with an obligation to buy for €17 million.

Jean-Philippe Mateta’s Downfall At Mainz

A product of the LB Chateauroux youth academy, Jean-Philippe Mateta was one of the rising stars of the 2018/19 Bundesliga campaign. He netted 14 goals in 34 appearances in what was his debut season in Germany. His progress was stifled by an injury in the following campaign as he could only muster just over 1,000 minutes of league action.

This season, however, Mateta has fallen out of favour with Mainz, despite his rather impressive scoring tally of seven goals in 15 matches. He has fallen behind the young Jonathan Burkardt in the pecking order, with even the ageing Adam Szalai playing a bigger role in the plans of newly appointed head coach Bo Svensson.

It is also fair to point out that five of Mateta’s seven goals have come in matches against Gladbach and Freiburg, where he truly performed well. The striker has underperformed in almost every other match this season, with Mainz now dawdling at the bottom of the Bundesliga table. A move away from Germany, therefore, makes sense for the Frenchman.

Leeds United are set to miss out on Jean-Philippe Mateta - A blessing in disguise.
Mainz’ French forward Jean-Philippe Mateta celebrates scoring the 3-3 during the German first division Bundesliga football match Mainz 05 vs RB Leipzig in Mainz, southwestern Germany on May 3, 2019. (Photo by Daniel ROLAND / AFP) / DFL REGULATIONS PROHIBIT ANY USE OF PHOTOGRAPHS AS IMAGE SEQUENCES AND/OR QUASI-VIDEO (Photo credit should read DANIEL ROLAND/AFP/Getty Images)

Will Leeds Rue Missing Out On Mateta?

Leeds United desperately need a new striker in their ranks for multiple reasons. Patrick Bamford has performed well-above expectations with ten goals in 18 matches. However, his form dissipated in recent weeks, with the Whites yet to secure a single victory since the turn of the year. In addition, the ex-Chelsea starlet is also their only available striker at the moment.

Marcelo Bielsa could have welcomed the arrival of someone like Mateta. The Mainz forward has the pace, tenacity, and scoring prowess that could have added more quality to Leeds United’s offensive play. But, at the same time, his lack of form and consistency raises questions over his effectiveness, especially in the robust nature of the Premier League.

Therefore, it won’t be surprising to see the Frenchman struggle in England and Leeds’ missed pursuit of the forward could serve as a blessing in disguise. However, the Whites must still shift their attention towards another option as they look to add some much-needed depth in the number nine position this January.

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