Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has admitted the club have a fight on their hands to keep hold of Michael Olise.
Having looked in danger of relegation at one point, Palace ended the 2022/23 in 11th, 11 points clear of the drop zone in a testament to the work Hodgson did replacing Patrick Vieira. Having previously retired from manager, Hodgson made his return to football initially until the end of the season to save the Eagles from the drop, but last month signed a new one-year deal.
So now Hodgson is preparing for a full season back in charge at Selhurst Park and hopefully for the club a more comfortable campaign. However, it hasn’t been the best of summers for the Eagles.
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In terms of incomings, the Eagles have only signed Jefferson Lerma on a free transfer from Bournemouth, to help deal with the departures of James McArthur and Luka Milivojevic. But there was an even bigger loss with Wilfried Zaha leaving Palace after eight seasons, having seen his contract run out.
Previously subject to interest from a lot of clubs across Europe and particularly in the Premier League, Zaha has joined Turkish champions Galatasaray and will look to take on the Champions League this season in Istanbul. While some fans may feel a tiny bit of relief to not have the constant doubts over the future of their star man, it appears that another name will replace Zaha in being linked with a move away from Selhurst Park.
Already this summer clubs have been linked with a move for Olise, who shone particularly under Hodgson towards the end of the 2022/23 campaign and took that form into the U21 Euros with France before injury cut his tournament short. Playing 37 times for Palace in the Premier League last season, Olise was directly involved in 13 goals, with only Eberechi Eze (14) contributing to more for the Eagles.
Eleven of Olise’s goal involves last season were assists, with only Kevin De Bruyne, Leandro Trossard and Mohamed Salah recording more assists in the Premier League than the Frenchman — with just two others breaking into double figures. And Hodgson knows Palace will be up against it to try and keep Olise.
“We have a fight on our hands to make sure he stays with us,” Hodgson told reporters.
“We had two outstanding wingers who were almost the best in the league – Michael Olise on the right side and Wilf on the left. We don’t have Wilf anymore. Clubs are circling around Olise.
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“We’ve lost five senior players from last season and brought one in – Jefferson Lerma; he’s good and we’re happy to have him in – but there is still that hole of five senior players in the squad, two of whom were two of the real stars of the team.
“There’s a bit of work for the chairman and sporting director to do between now and the end of August, because the team we put out today was in our opinion, at this moment in time, our best team, but we don’t have the strength behind that team that we had last year.”