West Ham United must act fast as David Moyes reportedly enters the chase for Reading’s in-demand sensation Michael Olise.
According to Football Insider, the Irons have entered the clutch of sides keen to sign Olise in the upcoming transfer market after Moyes began targeting midfield reinforcements.
The Scottish coach is eager to utilise the mid-season window to strengthen the core of his line-up at the London Stadium, and has instructed the Irons’ team of scouts to keep tabs on Olise amid doubts over his long-term future at Reading.
Leeds United have been paying close attention to the 18-year-old’s situation since August after a deal for Michael Cuisance collapsed, and could strive to acquire Olise through an £8million release clause in his current terms at the Madejski Stadium.
Olise is currently set to be out of contract in the summer of 2022 but Reading are vulnerable to losing the talented youngster early, as the Championship side are cash-strapped and may need to rely on the growing interest in their academy graduate.
The Royals held firm in retaining Olise this summer after approaches from Leeds, Arsenal and Wolverhampton Wanderers, with two of those outfits understood to have seen offers worth in excess of £5m rejected.
Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea and Everton have also been touted as potential suitors in the former Chelsea trialist, also admired by Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig, AS Monaco and SSC Napoli.
West Ham emerging on top in the ever-growing race for Olise’s services could see the east London outfit acquire a second Jarrod Bowen type within a year, having signed the winger from Championship side Hull City for £22m last January and reaped the benefits ever since.
Bowen accounts for three of the Irons’ 13 Premier League goals this season – the joint-most alongside Michael Antonio – while also offering their third-most shots (12), accurate crosses (five) and fourth-most successful dribbles (six), per WhoScored.
Olise, meanwhile, is currently lighting up the Championship with his performances for table-toppers Reading, having provided two goals and three assists from a central or attacking midfield position, while also recording an average of 0.8 shots, 1.2 key balls, 5.3 duels won (60%), 1.2 tackles, 0.8 interceptions and 29.3 accurate passes (84%) a match over his 10 outings, per SofaScore, and is yet to miss a big chance to score.
The Irons would likely have to trigger Olise’s alleged release clause in order to sign the talented teen in January given the ever-increasing interest, but in doing so David Sullivan would offer Moyes someone who Reading boss Mark Bowen believes has the world at his feet.
“He is such a talented player and he can do anything in his career,” Bowen told the Royals’ official website in January, following Olise’s first Championship start of the season against Nottingham Forest.
“I said to him after the game that I’d probably done him a disservice by not using him more before now. I have to trust them to put 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.
“I said to him at the final whistle: ‘I know I can trust you now’, because of the shift of work he put in. Defensively, he showed he was years ahead of his time. That’s not just what he does on the ball, but also his work-rate and intelligence.”
It remains to be seen if Olise stays with Reading come next February or who out of his many admirers is willing to pay his £8m release clause and land a highly-sought-after rising star.