Chelsea more advanced than Man Utd in Michael Olise pursuit

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Chelsea are more advanced than Manchester United in the race to sign Crystal Palace winger Michael Olise, 90min understands.

Olise has long been admired by both the old and new regimes at United, but the Red Devils are yet to formally take their interest to Crystal Palace as they believe there are bigger positional priorities – namely a striker, centre-back, left-back and midfielder.

United also feel there is no rush given Olise is a considered decision-maker, but this could hand Chelsea an advantage after they tried to sign Olise last summer but failed to trigger a complicated £35m release clause in his previous contract.

Chelsea are intent on signing a new winger with sources confirming to 90min that the Blues are back in the hunt for Olise. Their plan in January was to focus on a new lead striker as a priority above this position, but with Nicolas Jackson finishing the season strongly, and new manager Enzo Maresca preferring wingers to wide forwards, Olise is suddenly a name Chelsea are going after again.

Chelsea believe they made an impact on the 22-year-old with their approach last summer even though it ultimately failed. He previously spent time in the club’s academy system, plus his brother, 19-year-old Richard, recently signed a new contract at Stamford Bridge.

Reports of an agreement over personal terms between Chelsea and Olise are believed to be wide of the mark due to the complex release clause in the winger’s contract. While a fee in the region of £60m-£65m will ultimately be demanded if the clause is triggered, it is complicated and requires suitors to approach Crystal Palace with their intention to trigger it before meeting with Olise to discuss terms.

Last summer’s approach saw Chelsea accused of falling foul of Palace’s strict release clause terms leading to the move for Olise to collapse, although the Blues remain adamant that they did not make an illegal approach to the winger.

Michael Olise

Chelsea’s interest is most advanced at this stage / Malcolm Couzens/GettyImages

While Chelsea are moving fast to try and get a deal done, other suitors like United, Manchester City and Newcastle are not concerned about falling behind as Olise is expected to take some time to deliberate the options available to him – including remaining at Palace – rather than simply accept the first offer made to him.

Olise has links to most of the clubs chasing his signature. Alongside his Chelsea history, he also spent a year in the City academy and grew up a United fan, making the latter of some appeal.

Newcastle, however, do not have that off-field connection with Olise and may struggle to strike a deal due to their lack of European football and the need to sell players to raise the funds needed to sign the Palace star.

Olise has been selected to play at this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris, having missed out on a spot in Didier Deschamps’ Euro 2024 squad, and that could complicate interest from both Chelsea and United.

Chelsea have already blocked a number of key players from competing at the Olympics, including fellow Frenchmen Malo Gusto and Benoit Badiashile, while United turned down Argentina’s push to involve winger Alejandro Garnacho.

Olise may seek guarantees he can still play at the Games in Paris prior to deciding on his future.

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