Aston Villa should look to sign Reading starlet Michael Olise instead of Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe this summer.
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 now appears that they could be set to lose out on his signature.
According to The Athletic’s Matt Woosnam, it’s fellow Premier League side Crystal Palace who are set to sign the 19-year-old, as they look to overhaul the squad for new manager Patrick Vieira at Selhurst Park.
Hailed as “super talented” by Reading manager Veljko Paunović, the teenager 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 and end product is significantly better than what Ross Barkley produced last season in the Premier League while on loan at Villa.
Olise, recorded 12 assists in the Championship alone last term, as well as adding a further seven goals to his name while the £13.5m-rated teenager also ranked in the top ten for most fouled players per game in the Championship, and was second for key passes in the division.
Barkley on the other hand, managed just three goals in the top-flight and one solitary assist, while he also had his issues with injury too – Olise by contrast, missed just two of his side’s 46 Championship games.
With The Athletic’s David Ornstein recently claiming that Arsenal are adamant Smith Rowe won’t be going anywhere, Villa would surely be better off turning their attentions to a target more achievable in Olise.
With Palace however in the driving seat, Johan Lange and co must strike quickly and bring in a target who Smith was looking at potentially signing back in the January transfer window.
With Barkley having gone back to Chelsea after a hugely underwhelming loan spell, Villa could sign a dream upgrade on the 27-year-old in the much younger, and more exciting Olise this summer.