Jean-Philippe Mateta faces uncertain future despite Crystal Palace hat-trick

Jean-Philippe Mateta still faces an uncertain future at Crystal Palace despite scoring the club’s first hat-trick in eight years during last night’s 4-2 Carabao Cup win at Plymouth.

The Frenchman netted three goals in 22 second-half minutes as Palace came from 2-0 down to reach the third round at Home Park.

Yet Palace are still exploring alternative striking options such as Leicester’s Kelechi Iheanacho, with Mateta wanted by RB Leipzig before the transfer window closes.

Mateta said post-match: “I’m very happy. It’s my first hat-trick at Palace, and hopefully [there are] more hat-tricks coming. We are competitors. We want to win every game.”

Leipzig hope to sign Mateta, 26, this week. He attracted interest from Genoa and Borussia Dortmund earlier this summer, and his treble last night was the first hat-trick scored by a Palace player since Yannick Bolasie notched three goals in 11 minutes at Sunderland in 2015.

Palace manager Roy Hodgson said of Mateta’s contribution: “We know he can do that. When he gets in those positions, we know he’s got that composure and ability to strike the ball very well.

“I was very pleased with his goals — getting across people at the near-post and scoring from those crosses. I am delighted for him.

“He has waited a long time to get a first-team opportunity from the start. Today he had it, and I’m sure he will be knocking on my door tomorrow telling me: ‘I told you how good I was!’.”