NIGERIA-born midfielder Michael Olise has become new Crystal Palace manager Patrick Viera’s first signing after putting pen to a five year deal with the London club concluding his switch from Championship side Reading.
Olise, 19, is a mercurial playmaker seen as a creative player with a great future as his ability to ghost past opponents opens up rival defences. Eligible to play for England, France, Algeria and Nigeria, Olise has been the subject of a lot of transfer speculation lately but it was Palace that triggered his £8m release clause with Reading.
Earlier this year, Olise committed his international future to the Super Eagles, leading to Nigeria’s head coach Gernot Rohr naming him on the standby list for the two African Nations qualifiers that took place in March against Benin Republic and Lesotho. However, his Fifa clearance had yet to come through, delaying his appearance and since then, Algeria have begun wooing the player too.
Olise attracted a lot of interest from many clubs in the Premier League after a fantastic season in the Skybet Championship. He scored seven times and registered 12 assists in 44 league games for Reading last season, earning him the Championship Young Player of the Season and getting him featured in the team of the season.
Born in England, Olise has played for the French U18 team, so still Fifa to clear him before he can feature for Nigeria. With this move to Selhurst Park, Olise will link up with another Nigerian national team target Eberechi Eze, who also happens to be a creative playmaker.
Olise’s value soared by €4m overnight to €12m after he was named in the standby list for Nigeria’s 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifying matches against the Republic of Benin and Lesotho. Among the clubs looking to sign him since have included Leeds United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Bayern Munich and French Ligue One champions Lille.