Ranking Michael Olise’s nine summer options: Arsenal 8th, Man Utd 7th, Crystal Palace 2nd

Will Ford
Michael Olise
Michael Olise has a tough decision this summer.

Michael Olise is enjoying an outstanding season. His brace in the humiliation of Manchester United on Monday means that only Erling Haaland (1.18), Cole Palmer (1.15) and Kevin De Bruyne (1.09) have more goal contributions per 90 minutes than Olise (1.07). Inevitably, that form has drawn the attention of The Big Boys ahead of the summer transfer window.

He is a brilliant finisher and one of the most creative players in the Premier League. What a combination.

The young Frenchman is set for a tough decision, with all of the current top eight supposedly interested in acquiring his services. Fortunately for Olise, we’ve relieved him of the burden, ranking his nine (yes, nine) options this summer from worst to best.

 

9) Chelsea
Apparently the Chelsea recruitment brainiacs want to use Raheem Sterling as a makeweight to sign Michael Olise, which chimes with their transfer policy/mad quest to rid the squad of any experience whatsoever. With Thiago Silva already announcing his departure, Sterling leaving would make 27-year-old Ben Chilwell the oldest player in the squad and 24-year-old Reece James the fifth oldest outfield player. Ridiculous.

We’re not necessarily saying getting rid of Sterling is a bad idea – he’s really not been brilliant for the majority of his time at Stamford Bridge – and using him to land Olise probably makes sense even with that experience dearth in mind. But unless Olise is told that the club is willing to deviate from a doomed process and sign at least one or two wiser heads, he should steer well clear.

And while we’re on the stupidity of the supposed great minds behind Chelsea transfer business, why oh why would they be trying to sign another left-footed right winger? Mauricio Pochettino’s already struggling to get Cole Palmer and Noni Madueke into the same team. For the love of God buy someone to fight for, and almost certainly win, Mykhaylo Mudryk’s spot on the left.

 

8) Arsenal
The reason Olise shouldn’t go to Arsenal is the reason why Mikel Arteta and sporting director Edu will struggle to sign any right winger worthy of playing in their title-challenging team: Bukayo Saka.

He’s got the most goals and the most assists this season, as he did in the previous two campaigns, and beyond his brilliance, he also barely misses a game. He’s been injured for five games in his entire Arsenal career. If he’s fit, he invariably plays.

Now, if Arteta had Olise then Saka wouldn’t need to be patched up, injected and wheeled out at Bramall Lane, but anyone arriving as his understudy should be well aware that in the vast majority of games, particularly the crunch ones, Saka is going to be starting.

It would be alright if either Saka or Olise could operate on the left or down the middle, but they are both so clearly made for that spot on the right, where they can cut a whipped ball into the box or the top corner. Saka hasn’t played anywhere but the right wing in the last two years and Olise has never played on the left for Crystal Palace.

 

7) Manchester United
An awful lot has been made of Olise being an ‘avid Manchester United fan’, though there didn’t appear to be a huge conflict of interest as he embarrassed Casemiro and his pals at Selhurst Park this week. It’s hard to imagine Olise then thinking to himself that United is the place for him next season.

On the plus side, he would be assured of a starting spot ahead of one of the greatest transfer flops of all time and could quickly become a much-needed hero for the fans, by doing unusual things for a United winger like scoring, assisting and not sulking, but he will likely not be playing in Europe, either under the ‘worst coach’ in the Premier League or one of the uninspiring alternatives being lined up to replace Erik ten Hag.

And while Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS appear to putting the right structures in place, they are currently arguably the most unstable club in the entire division; Olise would only know for sure who three of his teammates will be.

READ MORE: Where all 22 up-for-sale Man Utd players could end up this summer in £575m INEOS clear out

 

6) Tottenham
Rumour has it Ange Postecoglou wants to clear the decks at Spurs this summer, if that wasn’t already pretty clear by his rising anger over the last few weeks, to make space for players better suited to his uniquely bonkers style of football.

Tottenham have probably been the club most sparingly linked with Olise, and given they signed Brennan Johnson in the summer to battle with Dejan Kulusevski on the right, it makes sense that they hold greater interest in Olise’s pal, Eberechi Eze, with Postecoglou’s midfield far more in need of quality reinforcements.

It looks like fun playing for Spurs though, and with the whole “stop passing it f***ing backwards” philosophy, Olise would have plenty of opportunity to shine.

READ: Angeball can only succeed if Spurs go all in this summer – but has Postecoglou done enough?

 

5) Liverpool
The key question for Olise: Is Mohamed Salah staying? But actually, either way, he may be well advised to snub Liverpool advances. If Salah stays he may not play enough, and if he doesn’t – as is the case with Arne Slot coming in for Jurgen Klopp – that’s a very difficult act to follow.

The new manager should be another concern. Liverpool could be set for a post-legacy manager slump; there’s always a risk Olise could be a Nicolas Pepe or a Marouane Fellaini.

 

4) Newcastle United
No Champions League football, but the general trajectory at Newcastle is upwards, and Eddie Howe has proven he’s a manager who improved players, and wingers in particular. Olise would probably be replacing Miguel Almiron, who looks likely to be on his way to Saudi Arabia, but was brilliant under Howe last season, and no one expected Anthony Gordon to improve quite so quickly and dramatically at St James’ Park.

A front three of Gordon, Alexander Isak and Olise would be a delight, and Newcastle’s transitional, counter-attacking style feels as though it would be a good fit for Olise, or at least not quite such a jolting change as he would experience at a club where possession is the be all and end all.

READ MORE: Top 10 most costly Premier League injuries features no Arsenal, Liverpool or Man City players

 

3) Aston Villa
Unai Emery’s side have been the surprise package of the season, playing entertaining football and getting results against their rivals at the top of the table to suggest that this won’t be a flash a pan, and they may well achieve their ultimate goal of “kicking the door down to the Big Six”. They’ve got a genius manager, an excellent sporting director in Monchi and some very fine players that – by virtue of qualifying for the Champions League – they have a very good chance of keeping.

But they owe Tottenham a debt of gratitude for what now looks as good as nailed on to be Champions League football next season, because Spurs have been so bad that Villa’s exhaustion hasn’t been too costly, in the Premier League at least.

Emery has an excellent first XI – a match for any team when they’re on their game. But it’s a shallow squad that’s feeling the pain having gone deep in the Europa Conference League while fighting for the top four. They desperately need quality additions to bulk them up this summer.

While Moussa Diaby has impressed at times, he’s not an impassable obstacle to the first team for Olise, who should fancy his chances of securing a spot in a team set to compete in the Champions League. And in Ollie Watkins, he would have a striker to play alongside who’s brilliant at bringing others into play and invariably makes the right runs to aid his fellow forwards.

 

2) Crystal Palace
We realise that this is a selfish point of view, and we wouldn’t think any less of Olise if he did accept more money to play football for a bigger football club, but we would love to see what he could achieve, hopefully alongside Eze and Jean-Philippe Mateta, in at least one more season under Oliver Glasner at Crystal Palace.

Unless he gets a horrible injury, which we accept must always be a consideration for a footballer and their family, those big offers are still going to arrive next summer, after a season in which – and we’re not taking the p*ss here – if Glasner adds a couple of quality additions and keeps his best players both at the club and fit, Palace could be challenging for Europe.

Would taking Palace into Europe for the first time in the club’s history (save a one-game Inertoto Cup dalliance in 1998, which doesn’t really count) not be a greater achievement than anything he might do for these other clubs next season?

 

1) Manchester City
They’re a winning machine, he would be playing with the best players in the world and there’s a space to be filled after neither Riyad Mahrez nor Cole Palmer were replaced in the summer, but there’s one reason why Manchester City trump all others in the Premier League in their bid to sign the best players: Pep Guardiola.

It would be an incredibly bold move to reject the opportunity to play under him. And key to that decision would be doubt over how long the legendary boss will remain at City. He’s hinted at extensions, but his current contract expires in 2025, so if Olise snubs him this summer he may not get another chance.