Aston Villa boss Dean Smith could sign the club’s new Paul Merson in Reading prospect Michael Olise.
Reports in recent months had suggested that Smith is eyeing a move for the 19-year-old this summer as the manager looks to strengthen his squad ahead of the new Premier League season, while TEAMtalk recently claimed that Ligue 1 champions Lille are keen on bringing Olise back to his home country.
Dubbed as “super talented” by Reading boss Veljko Paunović, the teenager has got the kind of natural ability and creativity that Merson brought to the table in his pomp at Villa Park.
Jose Gomes, his former boss at the Madejski, added: “Michael is really special. He can see, even before receiving the ball, more options than regular players. His technical ability and speed, decision capacity is really, really good.”
And that decision-making is exactly what wrought an impressive 12 assists in the Championship alone last season, while he also added a further seven goals to his name as well.
The £10.8m-rated starlet ranked in the top ten for most fouled players per game in the Championship and finished second for key passes in the division too – the kind of dribbling and vision that Merson showed time and time again.
In a piece written on Villa’s official website, they said: “Merson joined Villa in a £6.75m move from Middlesbrough in 1998 and enjoyed a superb four seasons in claret and blue, bringing smiles to the faces of fans with his silky-smooth skills in the middle of the park.”
If Olise were to join up at Villa, then the Midlands club could see another exciting play-maker who could run rings around the midfield, just like Merson did all those years ago.