Premier League • England

£50m bid readied as Chelsea fight Man City for leading Prem star; Pochettino plots instant position change

Arsenal forward Gabriel Martinelli and Crystal Palace winger Michael Olise

The battle to sign a leading Premier League winger is primed to ignite, with Chelsea’s interest termed ‘concrete’ and Man City willing to bid £50m, per reports.

The summer window may only have a month left to run, though many Premier League clubs – including those at the top end – have plenty of work left to do.

Chelsea are looking for a new goalkeeper to compete with Kepa Arrizabalaga. Brighton’s out of favour Robert Sanchez has reportedly said yes to joining the Blues and an official bid is in the works.

Elsewhere, Moises Caicedo is wanted in midfield, while Romelu Lukaku could change places with Dusan Vlahovic at Juventus. A right-sided attacker is also on the agenda.

Man City, meanwhile, are still hopeful of wrapping up an agreement to sign RB Leipzig colossus, Josko Gvardiol. Like Chelsea they also need a new right-sided attacker having sold Riyad Mahrez to Al Ahli.

One player both clubs have converged on is Crystal Palace’s assist king, Michael Olise.

The 21-year-old won the Palace Players’ Player of the Year award last term. His 11 league assists went a long way to convincing his teammates.

Olise cost just £8m when plucked from Reading in 2021. However, just two years later he’s expected to fetch a minimum of £50m if leaving Selhurst Park.

Chelsea mobilising; Man City set £50m aside

To that end, two reports have detailed Chelsea and Man City’s interest in the player. Beginning with City, the Guardian state Pep Guardiola’s side are ‘thought to be willing to spend up to £50m’ to get a deal done.

From Palace’s point of view, it’s claimed they hope to receive a fee well in excess of the £50m they sold Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Man Utd for in 2019. To achieve that aim, they might be reliant on a bidding war and that’s where Chelsea factor in.

The Guardian note both City and Chelsea are considering formal approaches and the Blues are long-term admirers of Olise.

The forward was on Chelsea’s books between 2019-15 before then spending a year in Man City’s youth academy. As such, both clubs are more than familiar with the player.

Elsewhere, a report from Chelsea expert Nathan Gissing has shed further light on the Blues’ chase.

Pochettino plots position change

Writing for Gianluca Di Marzio’s website, Gissing termed Chelsea’s interest in Olise as ‘concrete’.

Furthermore, Gissing revealed Chelsea and Pochettino actually view Olise as more of an attacking midfielder rather than an out-and-out right winger.

The logic there would be Olise’s keen eye for a pass could be better utilised in the more dangerous central areas.

As such, if a move to Stamford Bridge does await, Olise may find himself moved off the flank and into either a No 10 or No 8 position.

Of course, any Olise exit hinges on Crystal Palace greenlighting a sale. On that front, the Guardian carry quotes from Palace boss Roy Hodgson who admitted he faces a fight to retain one of the league’s leading lights.

“Clubs are circling around him and we are going to have a fight on our hands to make sure he stays with us,” said Hodgson.

“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.”

Zaha recently joined Turkish giant Galatasaray after rejecting an offer to remain at Selhurst Park worth £200,000-a-week over four years.

Losing Olise too would be a bitter blow and as such, Palace will hold out for ‘significantly more’ than £50m.

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