In an unusual twist, Crystal Palace have announced the contract extension of assist king Michael Olise.
Having snatched a player away from Liverpool FC twice in a row, Chelsea FC have now been turned down themselves: the signing of France U-21 international Michael Olise officially fell through on Thursday – although his signing seemed to be only a matter of time.
On Tuesday, English media had reported unanimously that Chelsea had activated the 40 million euro exit clause in Olise’s contract with Crystal Palace, which was still valid until 2026. But two days later the turnaround: Palace boss Steve Parish personally announced on his social media channels that Olise had signed a contract – at Palace.
No U-21 player in Europe’s top leagues collected more assists in 2022/23
The 21-year-old winger is now tied down until 2027, presumably having his exit clause bought off. “It’s the best news we could have got,” said a delighted coach Roy Hodgson, thanking Parish and sporting director Dougie Freedman for doing a “fantastic job”. “I was worried – it’s always worrying when a club of Chelsea FC’s calibre shows an interest in a player and there are people saying a move there would be the best solution. “
Olise had arrived from Reading FC in 2021 as the best young player in the second division and made a splash last Premier League season with, among other things, 11 assists – no U-21 player in Europe’s top leagues had more. The London native is currently recovering from a long-term thigh injury sustained at the European Under-21 Championship in the summer.
Hodgson relieved: “It would have changed my perception “
Now made his coach happy off the pitch too. Hodgson, who surprisingly took over Palace last season at the age of 75 and led them to a commanding relegation finish, had given his commitment for another season in the summer, but already had to cope with the departure of Wilfried Zaha (on loan to Galatasaray) in his attack. “I thought the squad looked very, very interesting and when the chairman asked me if I wanted to come back for another year, I had that in mind,” he said, admitting, “To lose a player like Wilfried Zaha and then Olise as well, that would have changed my perception.”
So with his basket for Chelsea, Olise may also have prevented any emerging unrest around Hodgson. “It’s a special day for me, of course,” said the now 76-year-old with relief.