Aston Villa aren’t short of attacking midfielders with Jack Grealish, Ross Barkley and Jacob Ramsey at their disposal.
However, Barkley is only on loan until June while Ramsey is getting mere cameo appearances, so the Midlands outfit could benefit from a tried-and-tested playmaker who can make a lasting long-term impact.
The Daily Mirror reported that Villa ‘have eyes’ on Michael Olise, but it remains to be seen if Reading would let him go as he has been a regular under Veljko Paunović while impressing in the Championship.
The 19-year-old joined Reading from Chelsea in 2015 and has gone on to make 51 appearances in all competitions, scoring four goals and supplying 10 assists. Olise made his senior debut in 2018/19 and broke through to the team regularly last term with 19 appearances.
This season, he has scored four goals and set up another eight in 22 Championship games – one more assist than Jack Grealish has managed. He has created 37 chances, made 23 successful dribbles and has been fouled 46 times (WhoScored), so it’s easy to see why Dean Smith is keen. Former Reading manager Mark Bowen called Olise a ‘massively talented player’ as well, so his future looks bright.
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Whether the Royals would grant Olise a departure with two-and-a-half years remaining on his contract while they’re occupying a play-off place in the Championship is unknown, so Villa might have some difficulty landing his signature in January.
With creativity figures exceeding those of Grealish, though, he would certainly be worth the chase, at least.