Reading fans were hoping this day wouldn’t come, but they have lost their star teenage talent Michael Olise for what they will think is far below his market value.
The English-born Frenchman, who was picked up by the Royals in 2016 after spending time at Chelsea and Manchester City’s academies, made his first-team debut in 2019 but it was the 2020-21 campaign where his true talents were showcased.
Almost an ever-present in Veljko Paunovic’s side after playing 44 Championship games last season, the 19-year-old scored seven times and assisted a further 12 goals (Sofascore), with only Emi Buendia managing to top that assist tally in the whole league.
Olise’s performances led to him being named the EFL Young Player of the Year and was included in the Championship Team of the Year, and winning accolades like that at such an age means someone is destined for the top flight.
Rumours of an £8 million release clause in Olise’s contract emerged late last year though and whilst Paunovic said he was not aware of it, the clause has finally been proven to be a real thing as Crystal Palace have swooped for his signature.
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Olise will now link up with French legend Patrick Vieira, who has just been appointed as new manager at Selhurst Park and after his departure was confirmed the youngster posted a message to Royals fans on his Instagram page.
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Reading fans will be disappointed to see Olise go, but it was either recoup £8 million for him now or let him go for free at the end of next season.
Players come and go from clubs but fans will always be most attached to ones that come through their academy system, and Olise was one of those who didn’t start out initially at Reading but he was still a graduate of the academy.
It may be a while before Reading get a mercurial talent like Olise through their system again but it is nice to see that he really appreciated the club and the fans for developing him as a player and a person.
And he will go to Palace to work under a French legend and that could help his chances of getting in France’s national team in a few years should he develop into a greater player – potentially seeing Wilfried Zaha, Olise and Ebere Eze when he’s fit again should be a sight to behold.