‘A lot of ambition’: how Michael Olise mapped his path to Bayern Munich


Michael Olise shared a photo on Instagram on Sunday evening after his transfer to Bayern Munich was officially announced. The picture showed the 22-year-old looking relaxed and comfortable in the club's new away kit. This should come as no shock to fans of Crystal Palace and Reading, who have seen him grow into a highly talented young forward in recent years.

"Supporters flock to the stadium to watch talented players such as Michael Olise," Bayern's sports director, Christoph Freund, excitedly shared after beating out top English clubs like Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, and Manchester United. Olise expressed his joy, stating, "I am thrilled to be joining such a prestigious club. It is a fantastic opportunity and exactly what I was hoping for."

After departing Chelsea's youth program at 14 due to a "mutual decision" and practicing with City briefly before a six-month stint without a team, Olise has consistently possessed a confidence in his potential for greatness. His ex-coach Sean Conlon stated to the Guardian in 2022 that "Michael has been the top player in the country for his age since he was nine", even though his path to success at the Allianz Arena has not been without obstacles.

Olise, his father Vincent, and long-time friend and agent Glen Tweneboah have been carefully planning his career since he first started playing for Reading in 2019. Tweneboah was recently suspended for six months by the Football Association for breaking their rules by agreeing to receive a portion of Olise's future transfer fee in his first professional contract. Luckily, his suspension won't start until October, allowing him to continue working on Olise's transfer to Bayern.

Palace beat City and other teams to sign him from Reading in 2021 for £8m after he was named the best young player in the Championship that season. Olise's team made sure to add another clause in his contract at Selhurst Park, and Chelsea's failed attempt to sign him last summer led to a new four-year deal with better terms. This new contract also included a clause, but it was said to make clubs not in the Champions League pay a higher fee. "Michael is a great example of a modern player who has carefully considered what is best for his career," a source from Palace said. "He is a special talent who knows exactly where he wants to go."

Saïd Aïgoun worked with Michael Olise when he was playing for Palace under Patrick Vieira. Aïgoun mentioned that Olise would often stay back after practice to improve his skills. He dedicated a lot of time to perfecting his movements for different game scenarios. Olise is known for his strong work ethic, even when facing challenges. He always strives to be the best player he can be, a quality shared by top players. Olise's competitive nature shines through in every training session, as he always aims to come out on top.

"In a team, that's what players appreciate in a teammate. As a coach, you can depend on players like Michael, who have character and drive, while making sure that this benefits both the player and the team. He's a very smart individual, and the importance of his contributions is outstanding. They may not happen often, but when he does speak up, it's for a specific and crucial reason. He grasps the situation and future opportunities quickly."

In the FA Cup game against Millwall in January 2022, Olise's actions after being hit by a bottle showed that he is not afraid of a challenge and has a talent for scoring goals. Despite missing some games due to hamstring injuries, his impressive record of 10 goals and six assists in 19 matches caught the eye of larger teams.

"He is the type of player you want to have on the field until the very end, because he can make a game-changing play at any moment," explains Aïgoun, who currently serves as an assistant coach for Algeria but has aspirations of returning to the Premier League. "Playing for Bayern, he will be in a league known for its attacking style of play. I have trained talented French players who excelled in the Bundesliga and then moved on to the Premier League. However, Michael has already proven himself in the Premier League and is heading to Germany with a wealth of experience, maturity, and ambition. It's a very promising opportunity for him."

Several long-time fans of Palace have praised the talented forward from Hammersmith, who is likely to shine for France in the upcoming Olympics. Some even consider him the greatest player to have ever played for the club, though others argue that Eberechi Eze is superior. They are all hopeful that Eze will continue to play for Palace, especially after his impressive performance under the new manager, Oliver Glasner, towards the end of last season.

Olise and Nottingham Forest's Omar Richards are still good friends. Richards spent a year at Bayern Munich after leaving Reading in 2021. Being reunited with his former Chelsea academy teammate, Jamal Musiala, in Germany should help him adjust to his new surroundings. During his medical exam, Olise was asked if he thought he would win the Champions League trophy, to which he confidently replied, "Yes, that's the goal."

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