It’s not often you come across gifted young players who have a reasonably low release clause included in their contract, but Crystal Palace have ensured that this is the case with one of their star men.
According to The Times, winger Michael Olise is thought to have a £35m release clause, although they state that it is not known whether that only becomes active if the club is relegated. He only moved to Selhurst Park last year, but several bright performances have left other clubs, which reportedly include Arsenal, monitoring his situation.
Olise first caught the eye of top-flight clubs when at Championship side Reading, where he proved to be a real handful for opposition defences due to his quick feet and tricky movement on the ball. He soon became a standout for the Royals and won the EFL Young Player of the Season award after scoring seven goals and providing 12 assists in 44 games.
The France U21 international had done enough to impress Arsenal legend midfielder and current Palace manager Patrick Vieira, who made Olise his first signing for the Eagles. The youngster has failed to match the numbers he racked up last season, but a more rotational role has seen starts difficult to come by. Despite this, Olise has still been able to make an impact, bagging four goals and nine assists in 31 appearances so far.
If the Gunners needed any more confirmation that Olise could one day fit in at the Emirates, then Vieira’s comments will no doubt do the trick. “He can score goals, create chances, and he is a special talent,” he said. “He will improve and get better as a player. His work ethic every day has been terrific since he has been at the football club.”
Mikel Arteta has built a talented young squad full of potential at the Emirates, and Olise would fit right in. Not only does he have the attitude to succeed, as Vieira confirmed, but his ability and versatility are also important factors which Arteta looks for in a player.
The Spaniard is expected to bolster Arsenal’s attack and midfield this summer, with the need for extra strength in depth ahead of a 2022/23 campaign that includes European football and the introduction of five substitutions in the league. Olise’s versatility would certainly be useful, with the 20-year-old playing on either flank or through the middle as an attacking and central midfielder.
There’s no doubt that if his release clause is there to be activated, clubs will come calling sooner rather than later. But if it only comes into effect should Palace go down, then it’s fair to say we could be waiting a while. Regardless, I’m sure that there’s an acceptance in south London that it will be difficult to keep hold of Olise if he continues on the path he finds himself on currently.
He’s a player Arsenal could do with, and considering Vieira’s connection to his former club, I’m sure Olise would depart with his blessing should the Gunners come knocking in the future.