Aston Villa could land a perfect alternative to Norwich’s Emi Buendia this summer in Reading starlet Michael Olise.
Reports in recent months had suggested that the French talent is on Dean Smith’s radar as the manager looks to rejuvenate his Villa squad with younger talent, but it appears that they now face significant competition for his signature.
According to TEAMtalk, Lille are keen on bringing Olise back to his home country, with the recently-crowned Ligue 1 champions are keen to see him arrive as a potential replacement for Jonathan Ikone.
Hailed as “super talented” by Reading manager Veljko Paunović, the 19-year-old has been widely hailed for his skill, with Jose Gomes – his former boss at the Madejski Stadium – adding: “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.”
That speed of thought to which Gomes is referring is something very much akin to Villa talisman Jack Grealish, who was the main source of inspiration for Smith’s side this season – he has managed 12 assists in the Premier League, with seven goals in all competitions.
Both of those tallies were matched by Olise, who also recorded 12 assists in the Championship alone this term, as well as adding a further seven goals to his name.
The £10.8m-rated teenager ranks in the top ten for most fouled players per game in the Championship (Grealish ranks top in the Premier League), and is second for key passes in the division (the Villa man is also second for that metric).
With Buendia also linked with a move to Arsenal, Villa have a real fight on their hands to land the Argentine this summer. If they miss out on the playmaker, or decide to go on a different direction, then Olise must absolutely be the man who Smith targets.
The Villa boss could forget all about Buendia by landing the much younger Olise this summer.
Meanwhile, Villa are eyeing a move for this free agent…