An £8m release clause, the Championship’s assist leader, and already an integral member of high-flying Reading, it’s easy to see why 19-year-old Michael Olise is garnering so much attention. In this report, we identify what exactly makes the youngster such an exciting prospect.
Olise is a French-born attacking midfielder, and was picked up by Reading in 2016 after youth spells at Chelsea and Manchester City. He made his first-team debut in March 2019, and is now a dominant fixture in Reading’s youthful side as they seek promotion to the Premier League.
Through 19 games, Olise already has 4 goals and 7 assists, and is part of a promising, fluid, dynamic attacking core (made up of Joao, Ejaria, Meite, and Olise) that has emerged as one of the best in the Championship. He mainly plays behind the striker or on the right, but constantly drifts throughout the final third, always looking for ares of space to infiltrate in attacking areas.
A real creative spark, Olise produces chances in a variety of ways. Prolific from set-pieces, a threat from wide areas, a smart mover off the ball, and capable of intricate and neat through balls, Olise is fantastic at feeding his teammates with opportunities in front of goal.
Although not yet a prolific scorer, Olise has showcased real shooting ability from a range of positions. Capable of generating power and whip off the dribble, he’s especially dangerous when cutting in from the right. Hit ability from set-pieces is impressive, too, showcased in the below video.
He generally looks to release the ball quickly, but when he does dribble, he is very efficient. He glides past defenders with his mazy runs and deceptive movement, and is incredibly creative on the ball, often getting out of tight spaces using inventive pieces of skill.
The aspect of Olise’s game that impresses us most is his intelligent movement and spacial awareness. Olise is always scanning his surroundings, finding space between the lines, and painting a picture before receiving the ball; all traits of a seasoned midfielder.
Not only does he look for pockets in the attacking third, but Olise is also comfortable dropping deep, receiving the ball, and showcasing his impressive range of passing. Strong with both feet, Olise is capable of accurate switches of play and dangerous balls over the top.
For all his talent with the ball, Olise also works hard without it, pressing from the front, winning challenges, and intercepting passes before kickstarting counter-attacks. His energy forces opposition players into mistakes, often causing turnovers in possession.
Olise’s performances this season and his affordable release clause have left a number of big clubs enquiring about his signature. Far from the end-product, Olise’s confidence is growing every game and his development is evident. Don’t be surprised if he gets a big move soon.