Crystal Palace are set to make Michael Olise their first acquisition of the Patrick Vieira epoch
(Photo by Alex Pantling / Getty Images)

The former France under-18 international, Michael Olise, is set to become the first addition to Croydon under the promising new era of head coach Patrick Vieira. 

At the prosperous age of 19 years old, the midfield maestro, who thrived under Veljko Paunovic at Reading last season, staked a claim to play Premier League football by being named as EFL Young Player of the season in the 2020/21 campaign.

He played a cardinal role in leading the Royals to a seventh-placed finish in the Championship last season - helping himself to 19 goal involvements in 46 appearances. 

Roy Hodgson had acquired the shrewd signing of Eberechi Eze in the summer of 2020, so a swoop for another highly-rated Championship prospect this time out looks to build on the foundations that the previous Palace manager had started.

  • Addressing the squad's age problem head-on

After being unveiled as the heir to the Selhurst Park throne on Sunday afternoon, the 45-year-old coach isn't wasting any time in kickstarting a much-needed squad rebuild at Crystal Palace.

Following on from being handed the poisoned chalice of converting a Palace side in need of their biggest reshuffle since financial austerity in 2010, Vieira has already made advancements towards dealing with one of the clubs biggest problems - an ageing squad. 

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As recently as 2019, the Eagles fielded one of the oldest squads in the Premier League era, when Hodgson welcomed Chelsea to Selhurst Park with a line-up that exceeded an average age of 31 years old.

But with the freedom of a lenient wage budget, following the departure of the likes of key names like Mamadou Sakho and Andros Townsend - Vieira has the room to introduce young talents to Croydon.

Alongside the pertinent news that Olise is set to join the former Arsenal captain in south London, Eddie Nketiah and Morgan Rogers are also among the honourable mentions of young and exciting players rumoured to seek pastures new in SE25.

Palace fans will welcome the news that the new head coach is dealing with one of the club's most vexatious stumbling blocks as a new era arises. The Eagles are desperate to see a more positive outlook in their line-ups, so the acquisition of Olise is sure to bring a few smiles to south London. 

  • What does Michael Olise offer Palace?

Naturally, fans of the Premier League have already started to draw comparisons to the signing of Olise to that of Eze last summer. After all, both additions boast beaming potential; both can play in wide areas or on the flanks, and both offer a dignified threat from dead-ball situations. 

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Playing under Paunovic's superintendence last season, Olise often burgeoned in the half-spaces for Reading, operating in a number 10 role that allowed him to roam freely from right to left.

Acquiring 4.98 attacking actions per 90 minutes in the Championship last season ranked within the top five percent in the league. His defence-shattering through balls and swirling crosses from afar have become quintessential to his game in Berkshire

When on his finest day, the pace and dribbling that the midfielder exhibits are enough to concern any defence in the country, and it's these attributes that make him a well-sought after prospect in the top-flight. 

Perhaps Olise's strongest asset, which ties in perfectly with how Palace and Vieira play, is his role in the transition phases of play. When Reading build from the back, Olise usually moves between the lines trying to create passing lanes and getting into the half-spaces to leave space for the wing players to attack. 

It is this part of his game that will help Wilfried Zaha and Ebere Eze to have the most impact on the game. 

Once Reading have established themselves in the opposition half, Olise moves around the edge of the box and in small pockets of space looking to receive the ball to assist his teammates and create from there - but he can also drop slightly deeper and try to progress into dangerous positions.

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Palace were also reported to be interested in the starlet in the winter months, but a deal wasn't struck. Now with Patrick Vieira at the helm, it seems that his inevitable pulling power is already on display.