By Mark Smith

5th Jan, 2021 | 6:30pm

'Very important' - Director responds to interest in 10-goal forward, Leeds & Orta big admirers

Mainz Sports Director Christian Heidel has confirmed that Jean-Phillipe Mateta is part of his plans, despite interest from Leeds United.

Football Insider reported on Monday that the Whites are keeping tabs on the French forward ahead of a potential summer move.

The reliable source has claimed on their website that the 23-year-old is attracting concrete interest from the Premier League, and Victor Orta is among his admirers.

Speaking to German magazine Kicker on Tuesday, Heidel admitted that he has “very important” status with Mainz in the future.

“He’s got a contract,” he said.

“He’s a very important and good player. As of today, we’re planning with this player. At the moment there is no reason to say he has to go.”

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Leeds and Marcelo Bielsa don’t like conducting their business in January, so we can expect a quiet month and increased activity in the summer.

Heidel’s comments fit in with that mould too, as Mainz want to keep hold of Mateta for the immediate future, and that is something that could change between now and the end of the season.

The 23-year-old has scored 10 goals in all competitions and has also added an extra assist to that tally as he catches the eye in Germany.

Patrick Bamford is the Whites’ only out-and-out striker, and with Tyler Roberts unavailable for selection and potentially leaving Elland Road, Mateta may be the perfect replacement.

This is certainly one to watch between now and the summer, with Mateta potentially the man to come in and add serious competition for Bamford next season, most likely in the Premier League.

In other Leeds United news, Rio Ferdinand claims Whites players could go against Bielsa

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