New Crystal Palace signing Michael Olise (£5.5m) is an intriguing addition to the budget midfielder pool in Fantasy Premier League (FPL).
Arriving in the Premier League off the back of a season in which he delivered 19 attacking returns, Olise has been one of the more notable captures of the summer transfer window so far.
The attacking midfielder, 19, was signed by Crystal Palace for a reported £8m and becomes Patrick Vieira’s first signing for the club.
Upon Olise’s capture, Vieira said:
We have the tools in our football club to make him a better player, and we’ve known him quite well because he’s a player the football club have been following for a long time. I think it is important to refresh the squad, to bring some new faces, to bring young talent here, and this is a really good signing for us.
Olise boasts some eye-catching statistics from his time in the Championship, but can he be the ‘enabler’ many of us are looking for in FPL?
We assess his worth in the article below.
HISTORY AND STATISTICS
Born in Hammersmith, Olise started his youth career at Chelsea before joining Manchester City and then Reading in 2018.
He made his debut against Leeds United the following year, and went on to make 18 appearances in 2019/20, but it was last season when his name truly came to the fore as he scored seven goals and contributed 12 assists.
As a result of those performances, he deservedly bagged a trio of awards: EFL Young Player of the Season, and inclusion in the Championship Team of the Season as well as the PFA’s Championship Team of the Year.
CHAMPIONSHIP STATISTICS 2020/21
|Shots per game||1.6|
|Key passes per game||1.9|
|Crosses per game||1.4|
|Dribbles per game||1.3|
Above figures taken from WhoScored
Only three Championship players created more chances than Olise (84), although it should be said that a large chunk of them (40) came from set plays – so it’ll be interesting to see whether he retains dead-ball duties in south London.
Another consideration is that all but 20 of his 71 shots were hit from outside the opposition area, so he’s not a true penalty-box lurker.
On the international scene, Olise has represented France at under-18 level, playing for them in the Toulon Tournament, but is also eligible for England, Nigeria and Algeria via his parentage.
Olise is a creative, left-footed attacking midfielder, who was mainly used behind the striker as a no. 10 at Reading.
However, he can also play as a traditional winger, and is especially dangerous when cutting in from the right.
As you can see from his 2020/21 heatmap, via Sofa Score, he operates all over the midfield third:
Technically excellent, he is a strong dribbler with an eye for a pass, and despite his age was Reading’s primary creator last season.
His defensive work isn’t great, and he possibly doesn’t track back enough, but he is still developing and his physical conditions should allow him to settle quickly.
“I had a conversation with the manager and he was talking about how he sees me in the team. I like to express myself, have fun, think creatively, dribbling — just free.”Michael Olise
Palace finished 14th under Roy Hodgson last season, but are set for a major overhaul this summer.
As a result of this, we don’t yet have a clear picture of how they will line up, but tactically, it is expected that Vieira will opt for a more open, attacking style.
During his time in France he most typically used a 4-3-3, which would certainly make a lot of sense at Palace, at least initially.
Given that Eberechi Eze (£6.0m) probably won’t be fit until 2022 and that Vieira’s new squad is on the thin side, Olise should be in immediate contention to play a big role and help fill the creative void at Selhurst Park.
Naturally, he will need some bedding-in time, and the expectations of any player jumping from Championship to Premier League level needs to be realistic, which does suggest that this is probably best summed up as a ‘wait and see’ in FPL.
The Eagles’ awful early schedule, of course, is another reason to hold fire.
However, a total of 19 goal contributions across the 2020/21 campaign really does show the quality he has in the final third, and once Palace’s fixtures ease from Gameweek 11 onwards, he may well be someone we can target in the budget midfielder category – as Eze was towards the end of the season just gone.
And by that point, he may also have had a price drop or two – further enhancing his budget credentials.