Throughout the course of the January transfer window, Saint-Etienne have been trying to sign Jean-Philippe Mateta from 1. FSV Mainz 05 in Germany.
The problem with that is the striker is currently on loan at Crystal Palace, who would have to agree to the deal being cancelled early, which would, in turn, see the Bundesliga throw away the chance of making extra money from the deal since the Eagles have an option to make the move permanent of around €14-15m or so.
This love triangle, if you want to call it that, has been at the heart of private and public discussions, with Saint-Etienne manager Pascal Dupraz now commenting on it on more than one occasion.
About two weeks ago, he claimed he had spoken to Mateta ‘regularly’ on the phone, suggesting he was trying to convince him to come to the Ligue 1 side, all the while Patrick Vieira was reassuring everyone that the forward wasn’t expected to be going anywhere.
The 24-year-old has seen a sharp upturn in his game time for the Selhurst Park side of late, at least by previous standards, featuring in the last four league games for at least 20 minutes in each, scoring in the 3-0 win over Norwich City in the process.
This did cast some doubts over whether an exit would take place in January, but it appears Dupraz is still quietly confident about getting a deal sorted as long as everyone shuts up about it.
Speaking to the Late Football Club on Canal+, he said: “We’re hoping for two or three extra incoming transfers. There has been a lot of talk about Mateta, and I am almost inclined to say that the less we reveal ourselves, the more chance we have of seeing our goals confirm themselves”.
So, now we have to wait and see if Saint-Etienne can convince Mainz of renouncing on the option to buy they have in place with Crystal Palace, meaning the Eagles also have to agree to weakening their squad depth by letting a now rotational option go midway through the January transfer window.