Former Sunderland and England forward Kevin Phillips has suggested that Michael Olise should not leave Reading entirely in January, but instead leave on a buy-to-loan deal with Leeds United interested.
Olise has been the subject of intense speculation around his future after the 19-year-old has emerged as one of the Championship’s rising stars this season.
The attacking midfielder has so far managed to register an impressive tally of four goals and seven assists for the Royals in 20 Championship appearances.
Quiz: Did these 20 things happen to Reading FC in 2020?
Speaking to Football Insider, Phillips suggested that Olise should remain at Reading for the second half of the campaign and spearhead their attempts to get promoted to the Premier League. While he also stated that he thinks he would struggle to get in Leeds’ team straight away and would therefore benefit from continuing his development in the Championship.
He said: “He should stay at Reading for the rest of the season. Stay and help get your club promoted.
“Why would you leave? He is playing week in, week out. Is he going to play at Leeds? Probably not. He may come off the bench and start the odd game but it would disrupt his development.
“The other option is he signs for Leeds and then returns to Reading on loan for the second half of the season. I would not have issues with that. You could get him signed up and then send him back. That could be an option.”
Olise has been a revelation in the Championship so far this campaign and it is no surprise to see him being targeted by a number of Premier League clubs ahead of the winter window. The £8 million release clause in his contract leaves the Royals in a weak position in terms of holding onto him because that fee will be looking ever more like a bargain for top-flight clubs.
However, Phillips is right that Reading at the moment is the best place for his development and he would not be wanting to lose any of the momentum he has been building with his performances. The 19-year-old has all the makings of a Premier League quality player, but sitting on the bench for Leeds in the second half of the campaign would not be best for his development.
From Leeds’ perspective, there is such heavy competition for Olise that they can not afford to wait until the summer, so a buy-to-loan deal might be the best solution for both clubs. Olise would then have the chance to continue his form and try and fire the Royals into the Premier League.