Why Newcastle should reignite interest in Jean-Philippe Mateta

Back in October last year, a report from German outlet Sport Bild (h/t Chronicle Live) claimed that Newcastle United were among a host of clubs who tried to sign French striker Jean-Philippe Mateta from Mainz in the summer of 2019.

The Magpies were even reported to have made a bid worth up to £24m for Mateta but rumours linking the 23-year-old with a move to Tyneside eventually came to nothing. (h/t Chronicle Live)

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Jean-Philippe Mateta completed his development at French club Chateauroux and made his professional debut in the third-tier during the 2015-16 season. He bagged 11 goals in 22 appearances in his breakthrough season, with his impressive rise paving the way for a move to the top-flight with Lyon a year later. 

However, he struggled to make a big impression at Lyon and made just 2 first-team appearances during the 2016-17 season. Mateta was loaned out to Le Havre in Ligue 2 to enhance his development and the towering hitman racked up an impressive tally of 19 goals in 37 appearances in the following campaign.

Club director provides update on Jean-Philippe Mateta after reported £14m Palace bid – HITC
Jean-Philippe Mateta had been linked with a move to Newcastle last year (Getty Images)

That paved the way for a move to German outfit Mainz in the summer of 2018 and Mateta went on to enjoy a fantastic debut season in the Bundesliga, scoring 14 goals in 34 league outings. The 23-year-old missed large quarters of the previous campaign due to an injury but has come back strongly this term, scoring 4 times from 7 Bundesliga outings for Mainz so far.

Mateta earned 9 caps for France U-21s earlier in his career but remains uncapped at the senior international level.

Mateta would add more quality to Newcastle’s attack

Newcastle’s £20m outlay on Callum Wilson in the summer seems to have paid off, following the England international’s bright start to life at St.James’ Park. The 28-year-old has hit the ground running at his new club with 6 goals in 8 league games so far and looks more than capable of fulfilling expectations as the club’s long-term No.9 moving forward.

However, the Magpies have every reason to be concerned about the lacklustre form of Andy Carroll and Joelinton. The latter has scored only twice in 45 PL appearances since the start of last season, failing to justify his mammoth £40m price tag. Carroll, on the other hand, is yet to score a league goal since his return to Newcastle from West Ham in 2019. 

Napoli are in formal negotiations with Mainz to sign Jean-Philippe Mateta | Get French Football News
Mateta has scored 24 goals in 62 appearances for Mainz (Getty Images)

With Dwight Gayle also out of contract next summer, Newcastle should ideally look to bring in some upgrades on the likes of Joelinton and Carroll. Wilson needs a quality player to work in tandem with him up top and the Magpies certainly can’t rely on such underachievers to deliver the goods. 

Thus, Newcastle should make a renewed attempt to sign Jean-Philippe Mateta in January or next summer. The Frenchman is widely regarded as one of the best young centre-forwards in the Bundesliga and has racked up an impressive tally of 24 goals in 62 games for Mainz in all competitions. 

As well as his obvious potential and pedigree as a young striker, Mateta also has the physicality to thrive in the rough-and-tough nature of the Premier League. Standing at 6ft 4 inch with an imposing frame, the Frenchman would add a much-needed focal point to Newcastle’s attack. In other words, he has just the right kind of qualities to bring the best out of Wilson.

Bundesliga | Jean-Philippe Mateta: Mainz's under-appreciated French striker surpasses Jean-Pierre Papin and Franck Ribery
Mateta has the capability to be a fine signing for Newcastle (Getty Images)

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Verdict

The acquisition of Ryan Fraser and Wilson in the summer has added a lot of depth and quality to Newcastle’s attack but they need to reshape their goalscoring options even further. Jean-Philippe Mateta is a quality young player with serious potential and still has his best years ahead of him at 23. Having said that, the Magpies should definitely start keeping tabs on the Frenchman once again.

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