Crystal Palace were by no means quiet in the summer, but perhaps they missed out on that one final signing, and Steve Parish can make amends during the January transfer window.
Palace have emerged as the favourites to land Reading midfielder Michael Olise. That’s according to a report from The Sunday People (20/12, p71), who also suggest that Leeds United are interested in signing the highly-coveted teenager.
The 19-year-old has been in scintillating form for the Royals, providing four goals and seven assists in 20 appearances in the Championship, via Transfermarkt.
While Wilfried Zaha is heavily linked with the Selhurst Park exit, Eberechi Eze has been one of the few bright sparks amid an inconsistent run of form but Palace have arguably been made to pay for never properly replacing their former charge Victor Moses.
Roy Hodgson only really has three options for two positions, at least until January, with Eze, Jeffrey Schlupp and Andros Townsend vying for a place on the wings.
A coronavirus outbreak or an injury crisis could quickly cause some problems at SE25, so Parish would be wise to sanction a swoop for Olise as not only would he be sufficient backup for the Englishman, but he’d also offer an alternative threat attack, having even been deployed as a centre-forward upon occasion so far this season.
His teammate and fellow Royals frontman Sam Baldock heaped praise on the “fearless” French teen last term, while his former manager Mark Bowen was equally effusive in his praise for the versatile forward after he earned his first Championship start at the City Ground last season, saying: “I felt it was the right time to give Michael a go – he is such a talented player and he can do anything in his career.
“I said to him after the game that I’d probably done him a disservice by not using him more before now. With younger players, I use that word – ‘trust’.
“I have to trust them to put them in the work – not trust them with the ball, because Michael is a massively talented player – but trust him to do the job out of possession.”
Evidently, this sort of attacking threat would be most welcome in south London and to be able to sign an attacking midfielder who still has plenty of time to grow and develop as a player would be an extremely smart bit of business.