Chelsea are the bookmakers’ favourites to sign Crystal Palace winger Michael Olise this summer and several reports have surfaced to suggest that the Blues have already lodged an opening bid of around £37m for the gifted 21-year-old.
The Blues have been European football’s most lavish spenders since the takeover of the club by the Clearlake Capital consortium last year and now it looks as though the cash-rich Londoners have lined up Olise as their next target.
Chelsea already have a wide range of options to choose from on both flanks and right across the attacking third at their disposal, so why are the Blues stepping up their interest in Eagles flanksman Michael Olise?
Michael Olise the assists king
Last season, Michael Olise became the first Crystal Palace of the Premier League era to notch double-figure assists for a single top tier campaign and the Frenchman set up 11 goals for his teammates in total during his productive season.
Only Man City’s Kevin De Bruyne (16) and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (12) eclipsed Olise’s performance for that metric, while Palace starlet’s 1.9 key passes per game average also made him a top ten Premier League player for that stat.
Olise’s eye for a creative pass would make him a valuable commodity in a Chelsea team that struggled to break down defences last season.
Hakim Ziyech and Raheem Sterling were Chelsea’s joint-most prolific pair in terms of assists in 2022/23, though both wingers only created three goals each – tallies that fell way short of Olise’s haul even when combined.
Olise’s wicked delivery from set pieces also contributed to Palace’s collection of 11 goals from dead-ball situations last season, while Chelsea could only manage eight from similar scenarios.
Olise could bring balance to Chelsea’s attack
New Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino has an expensively-assembled squad to select from, however, despite being laden with big names, the Blues’ roster still has an unbalanced look.
In Chelsea’s second pre-season fixture of the summer against Premier League rivals Brighton, Pochettino deployed his team in a 4-2-3-1 formation, which suggests that could be the Argentinean’s tactical blueprint for the forthcoming coming.
Raheem Sterling was handed a berth on the right flank against the Seagulls, though the England international is generally a more effective force when allowed to cut in from the left, while another relatively fresh recruit, Noni Madueke, is probably too raw to start every week in that position.
Mykhailo Mudryk meanwhile, who bagged a fantastic goal in that friendly against Albion, is a specialist inverted winger who also operates from the left and though new signing Christopher Nkunku can play wider when required, it already looks as though the ex-RB Leipzig man will be fielded more centrally under Pochettino.
When the options are shuffled and laid out across the pitch for Chelsea, a noticeable gap opens up on the right wing – a position that Michael Olise could fill with comfort.
Last season, Olise played 37 times in the Premier League for Crystal Palace and in 23 of those appearances, he took up a space on the right-hand side.
Interestingly, all but one of his 11 Premier League assists last season were lodged when Olise started close to the touchline on the right and the French U21 international has the right profile to add an extra dimension to Chelsea’s frontline if the Blues can construct a deal for his services.