Skip to main content

Why Reading Should Sell Michael Olise In January

Michael Olise leaving Reading is not a question of if, but when. The club has to decide whether they should cash in over January, or wait until summer to offload their most valuable asset.

A huge part of the equation comes down to two simple questions. 

  1. Will Reading make the play-offs this year? 
  2. Is Olise integral to that chance?

I imagine if you answer yes to the first, you're answering yes to both. After blistering early season form, the side have only won 4 of their last 14, and need to kick into gear to revive their promotion hopes. There are obviously mitigating factors, with injuries to key pieces of the squad. Many are coming to the end of their recovery period, but with Moore injured and Richards also likely to leave it's hard to say we're in a great position. It's also unlikely that Lucas Joao manages to stay fit for the rest of the season, and he's probably the most crucial piece to the puzzle.

With John Swift coming back into the team Reading have a ready made replacement in a player who would walk into most, if not all, teams in the league. It's hard to know how the manager will look to use Swift, and our only hint was the midfielder playing in a more advanced role in the brief minutes he's managed so far in 2020/21.

Then there's the fact that Veljko Paunovic, rightly, is not focused on increasing the youngster's value. Despite leading the league in assists the 19-year-old is not guaranteed minutes under the current regime, something which is evidently causing tension. Could that tension overflow, and start costing minutes? Or maybe Olise will pick up an injury that hinders a move when the season is done. There are a myriad of pathways where Reading don't increase the value, or can't sell Olise in summer - where there are no such obstructions currently.

Selling Olise could allow the team to invest in areas that are badly needed. The lack of wingers is a heavily covered subject, and the income would easily allow for additions. Whether the owners would use the money sensibly is up for debate. Reading failed to improve the wide areas during their first year, and were hamstrung by financial issues over summer that saw them fail to bring in Rodrigo Riquelme to help plug that gap. But, crucially, the signing of Riquelme would have been a sensible one.

And those financial issues should be enough of an incentive by themselves. Consistently over the last few years Reading have fallen foul of Financial Fair Play rules. They need money in the bank. Frustratingly it's difficult to tell whether even that would be enough given the owner's tendancy to splash the cash, but it would certainly go some way to easing short term fears.

Of course all this is reliant on Reading even having an option, i.e. there's no release clause in the contract that would take it out of their hands. To be clear, I'm not advocating to throw away a key asset for nothing. In fact, we should only accept an offer that truly reflects his value. What we shouldn't do is gamble on getting a better offer in the summer, or keeping him to try to make the play-offs, if the money is on the table.

Would I hate seeing Olise in a Reading shirt for the rest of the year? No. Would I be sceptical of turning down large amounts of income for that to happen? You bet.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Reading FC Season Review | 2020/2021

When your season starts with your manager having to watch your opening match from the hotel because he's not been hired in time to beat the quarantine, anything above getting relegated should probably be classed as a success. And Reading exceeded surely even the most optimistic of pre-season predictions. Veljko Paunovic Veljko Paunovic almost exclusively utilised a core group of players in a 4-2-3-1, only changing things when enforced. One of the consequences of that is that Reading had more players play over 3,000 minutes than any other side (roughly three-quarters of the season). That consistency is often seen as a good thing, but in a condensed season, it surely contributed to the injury woes. It can't have helped that the manager also used the second-fewest number of players over the course of the season. His substitutions were often categorised as late (Reading's subs played just 16 minutes on average, only Norwich's played fewer) or non-existent (Reading were 19t

The Big Man Cometh

In the grand scheme of things, I consider myself a bit of an Andy Carroll sceptic. Reading have a penchant for signing players that spend the majority of their time in the physio room, and Carroll aligns with that transfer policy to a tee. It must be said that given the lack of other options, and a short term deal that has no real risk for the club, there isn't any big downside in gambling on the Geordie. With that being said, even I was calling out for the introduction for The Big Man at half-time on Saturday. Reading had a heap of possession just outside the box in the opening forty-five but couldn't translate that into chances. Drinkwater had a tame shot saved after good work from Yiadom, but the best chance of the half fell to Puscas after a fortuitous deflection off a Forest player. The flag went up for offside but it didn't matter as the striker couldn't convert anyway. Both managers had done a fairly good job at negating the other side's strengths. Forest'

Reading 2-2 Huddersfield Town

It is frankly unbelievable that Reading managed to lose a match where they were so in control. Huddersfield didn't have a shot for the best part of forty-five minutes, and it's no real surprise that they only came back into the game after Paunovic's substitutions. It's likely that they're still managing Swift's minutes, there's no point injuring him in a game like this, and Olise was clearly struggling but to replace them with Tetek and Moore shows a depressingly defensive outlook. Sone or Camara was right there, Veljko. Reading's midfield quartet ended up too deep, and too narrow. It moved Reading to a 5-4-1, but with a quartet solely made up of central players who were clearly not completely comfortable in the role they were being asked to perform. Huddersfield had far too much time and space inside the Reading half, with all four midfielders largely looking to camp out in front of the defence. Rinomhota hands across the Huddersfield player, but that l