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September 26 2021 11.26am

Can Olise inspire Palace to success?

August 20 2021

Michael Olise

Michael Olise

Michael Olise could be Palace’s secret weapon this season, writes John Frost.

New Crystal Palace signing Michael Olise was one of the Championship’s standout players last season after claiming seven goals and 12 assists in 44 games for Reading FC.

Those numbers are even more impressive when you consider he was just 18-years-old when the season began.

It’s no wonder he was such a massive hit with Reading fans and was the beneficiary of a Player of the Season award from the English Football League.

Bookies Rank Palace as Relegation Contenders

With Palace currently second favourites behind Norwich to be relegated from the top flight in the latest football betting odds, new manager Patrick Viera will be hoping Olise can bring that form to the Premier League and help steer them clear of danger.

A back injury hampered his pre-season preparations but he could be on the verge of seeing his first Premier League action in the next few weeks. But just how important could he be in Viera’s first season at Selhurst Park?

Bargain of the Summer?

It's fair to say Reading were not keen on letting the French player go following his performances last term, but the Eagles were able to activate a clause in his contract that left the Royals with their hands tied.

In hindsight, the £8m valuation that triggered his release was set far too low for a player who many feel is now worth at least in the £20-30m range.

The midfielder was also linked with the likes of Liverpool and Leeds United, but only Palace took the necessary steps.

Reading’s blunder looks even worse when you consider they had nurtured Olise at their academy for five years prior to the sale.

What Will he Bring to the Team?

For Reading, he often operated wide in front three but also thrived when played through the middle.

He looks primed to play in an attacking No. 10 role (although he’ll wear No. 7 for Palace) where he has the talent to unlock defences, score goals and supply those ahead of him.

The fact he is a natural left-footer is also a bonus, but he is capable of pinging in dangerous crosses from either flank. His signing also makes a statement about the kind of team that Patrick Viera is trying to build, with more dynamic players with a natural instinct to attack.

Can Olise Hit the Ground Running?

Players like Olise are often eased into action at the top level but with Eberechi Eze out of action until the New Year, he may find himself thrown into the deep end. Few who have seen him play doubt he will have any trouble stepping up.

Parick Vieri himself faces the challenge of developing the player in the first team while also ensuring that Palace get the necessary results to keep them clear of danger.

With little room for error at this level, it will be a fine balancing act integrating a player who could ultimately prove to be the key to the club’s season. We can’t wait to see him action.

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