Crystal Palace poised to land Mateta but West Ham fail with Laborde offer

  • Palace agree loan with obligation to buy Mainz striker Mateta
  • West Ham wanted Montpellier striker Laborde on initial loan

Crystal Palace look set to sign Jean-Philippe Mateta after agreeing an initial 18-month loan with Mainz for the French striker.

Palace held talks with Mainz in the summer over a potential move for the 23-year-old, who joined the German club in 2018 from Lyon, and want to reinforce their squad after allowing Max Meyer to leave six months before his contract was due to expire. The deal with Mainz will see the Premier League club pay about £2.5m to sign the former France Under-21 striker on loan, with an obligation to buy for £14m.

Mateta, a target man who has scored seven times in the Bundesliga this season for relegation-threatened Mainz having managed 14 in his debut campaign there, has been the subject of interest from several Premier League clubs in the past, with Leeds linked with an approach this window. With Christian Benteke’s contract due to expire in the summer, he is expected to provide much-needed competition in the central striker’s role at Palace.

West Ham have had another setback in their hunt for a replacement for Sébastien Haller after having an opening bid rejected for the Montpellier striker Gaëtan Laborde.

They tried to strike a deal by offering a loan with an obligation to buy Laborde in the summer. Montpellier refused and will consider only a sale, with the asking price for 26-year-old likely to be £16m.

Gaëtan Laborde in action for Montpellier against Strasbourg this season.
Gaëtan Laborde in action for Montpellier against Strasbourg this season. Photograph: Pascal Guyot/AFP/Getty Images

David Moyes is keen to bring in another striker to support Michail Antonio after selling Haller to Ajax and is scouring the market for potential targets. West Ham switched focus to Laborde, who has six goals and six assists in Ligue 1 this season, after having a £22.5m bid for Sevilla’s Youssef En-Nesyri rejected over the weekend.

Sevilla are under no pressure to sell En-Nesyri and are unlikely to sanction the 23-year-old Moroccan’s departure for less than £40m. It is understood West Ham are unable to go higher than their first bid for the former Leganés player, who has 13 goals in all competitions this season.

Moyes has said he does not want to waste money on the wrong signing and is prepared to wait for attacking reinforcements until the summer. However West Ham know it would be a risk to rely on Antonio for the rest of the season. The 30-year-old, who scored the winner against Burnley last Saturday, has a history of hamstring problems.

Other names on the list include Bournemouth’s Joshua King, who is out of contract at the end of the season, and the Reims forward Boulaye Dia. Moyes has also looked at Blackburn’s Adam Armstrong, but targets such as Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud and RB Salzburg’s Patson Daka are likely out of reach.


Ed Aarons and Jacob Steinberg

The GuardianTramp

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