Crystal Palace

What Crystal Palace can expect from young gem Michael Olise

Ross Jackson
Michael Olise has signed for Palace
Michael Olise has signed for Palace / Nathan Stirk/Getty Images
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Imagine being bold enough to take a gamble on a wonderkid from the lower leagues, he turns out to be brilliant and then picks up an injury that could rule him out for eight months. What do you do?

Well, you go and buy another one - obviously.

Now we know what you're thinking, of course it's not as easy as just delving into the Championship, picking out a talented youngster and knowing fine well he'll perform at the highest level - because as we've already eluded to, these types of signings are a gamble. But in Michael Olise, Crystal Palace have bagged themselves a player who looks an absolute superstar.

When Palace snapped up Eberechi Eze last summer, the only peculiar thing about the move was that more Premier League clubs weren't interested in the former QPR man.

Eze had been tearing Championship teams apart all season and £16m represented a bargain. The England Under-21 international's first season in the top flight provided us with some highlight reel moments, with his solo goal against Sheffield United currently ahead in the Eagles' Goal of the Season vote with a landslide 48%.

With a season in the Premier League under his belt, the 2021/22 campaign held plenty of promise for the youngster, but an Achilles injury picked up in training at the back end of last season has potentially ruled him out until next year.

It's unclear whether Eze's injury was the catalyst for Palace's pursuit of Olise, but regardless of their motive they've secured the signing of a real gem.

Prior to Olise's breakthrough campaign last season, Reading were a side languishing in mid-table at the very best with their lack of goals preventing them from pushing for a top-half finish - sound familiar Palace fans?

However, Olise's creativity and drive saw the Royals unlock their true potential last season - eventually falling just short of the play-offs - with the youngster's link-up play with Lucas Joao helping the big forward record comfortably his best goalscoring season to date.

There's quite a lot of similarities between Palace and the Reading of old in terms of their style of play, and if Olise can strike up a partnership with frontman Christian Benteke like he did with Joao, the Eagles could really be in business.

Michael Olise holds off Philip Zinckernagel
Michael Olise holds off Philip Zinckernagel / Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

The most impressive facet of Olise's game is undisputedly his close-ball control and technically ability. The youngster is a box of tricks who regularly made Championship defenders look ridiculous when they tried to press him when he had the ball at his feet.

The conundrum comes when players try to stand off him and allow him time to showcase his skills, but his ability to carry the ball while running at pace before skipping past players means standing off him simply isn't an option.

Not only does Olise have the guile and the creativity to unlock defences, he's also got a wand of a left foot. The 19-year-old can play either left or right but is far better suited to the latter where he can drift inside and link up with teammates - at which point he usually curls the ball into the far corner.

The thought of Olise lining up alongside Eze and Wilfried Zaha is a truly frightening prospect if new Palace boss Patrick Vieira opts to play a more adventurous brand of football than what we're used to seeing from the club. But regardless of how Palace line up, Olise is a star in the making and they've done brilliantly to secure his signing.

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