REVEALED: How Crystal Palace fought off Chelsea and Todd Boehly to keep star winger Michael Olise at the club
- Crystal Palace saw off Chelsea advances and have kept Michael Olise at the club
- The Blues thought they had triggered a £35m release clause in Olise’s contract
- But Palace had the last laugh – and have made cheeky digs at Chelsea since then
Crystal Palace fans were delighted by the news that Michael Olise on Friday signed a new and improved four-year deal to keep him at the club.
It had appeared Chelsea were set to seal the talented young winger’s signature, but Olise shocked many by putting pen to paper with the south London side.
For Palace, co-owner Steve Parish and manager Roy Hodgson, the news came as a massive boost after losing talismanic forward Wilfried Zaha to Galatasaray on a free earlier this summer.
And the complex terms of the release clause in his contract Chelsea believed they had triggered – but, in fact, had not – have now been revealed.
As reported by The Athletic, Olise’s old contract was the subject of much scrutiny. After Palace paid the straightforward £8million release clause to sign him from Reading in summer 2021, there was a release clause written into his first deal.
Crystal Palace were delighted after winger Michael Olise signed a new four-year contract
The Eagles star put pen to paper despite Chelsea believing they had triggered a release clause
The terms of the complex release clause in his previous deal have now been revealed
It was believed to have been removed by Palace, but that was not the case, despite their attempts to get rid of, or at least renegotiate, the clause in contract negotiations in 2022. Instead, it was a complicated and highly specific release clause with instructions that had to be followed fastidiously.
The Athletic report that Olise’s old deal required the player himself to inform Palace of the interest in him and his personal desire to activate the release clause.
At that point, Palace would tell Olise how much money they wanted, information he would pass on to the potential buyers. Here, it was a figure significantly in excess of £35m, but that guaranteed Palace a net fee of at least £35m. Then the buyers, in this case Chelsea, could inform Palace of their desire to pay the required fee.
But when the west London outfit attempted to trigger the release clause on Sunday 13th, ahead of Palace’s deadline of at least two weeks before the summer transfer window closes on September 1, they went directly to Palace rather than via Olise.
So the Eagles did not reply, because they believed Chelsea had not followed the terms given in the 21-year-old’s contract, with Mauricio Pochettino and Co unaware of the conditions related to the clause.
Had Olise pushed for the move or carried out the necessary steps in his contract, it would have been difficult for Palace to stand in his way in legal terms. But after conversations with manager Roy Hodgson and club chiefs, the gifted wideman – who was in Chelsea’s academy up to under-14 level – decided to stay.
He informed Palace of this on Wednesday, signed the new deal – a sizeable pay rise up to around £80,000 per week – on Thursday and Parish had announced the news on his personal social media channels at 1pm.
Reports add that he was tempted to move to Stamford Bridge, but he eventually decided to stay, perhaps in the knowledge he would get more regular game-time and develop quicker at Selhurst Park. And, after all, Palace finished above Chelsea last season.
Since Olise (left) signed the deal, Palace trolled the Blues online with a tweet of one of the 21-year-old assists last season along with the soundtrack to The Fratellis song Chelsea Dagger
The Eagles revelled in the news, with Parish ending his post announcing the deal with a ‘shushing’ emoji – though that is perhaps aimed at Palace fans critical of his leadership rather than Chelsea necessarily.
But the Eagles’ Twitter post highlighting a brilliant Olise assist from last season with the soundtrack ‘Chelsea Dagger’ was surely targeted at Chelsea in a cheeky dig at their London rivals.
Despite this potential needle, the Athletic state the clubs want to continue the generally good relations between them. The seeming collapse of left-back Lewis Hall’s loan move to Palace – he is on the brink of joining Newcastle for £35m – is thought to be separate to the Olise deal.
Chelsea, for their part, suffered a transfer setback – a rare occurrence under big-spending chairman Todd Boehly.
Hodgson responded to the new deal by saying: ‘It’s the best possible news we could have… I am delighted for the club, and I must congratulate Steve Parish and Dougie Freedman on the fantastic job they have done in persuading him that, with this pressure from outside, “this is your place”. For me, it is a red letter day.’
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