Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson predicts top clubs could come calling for Michael Olise after another impressive performance from the midfielder helped the Eagles all but assure Premier League football next season.
The 21-year-old recorded his ninth assist of the season in Saturday’s 4-3 victory over West Ham – his total making him the fourth-best provider in the league – and was also instrumental in the build-up to the returning Wilfried Zaha’s seventh goal of the campaign.
Hodgson’s interim deal in the Palace dugout expires at the end of the season, and as a result the former England manager is not required to concern himself with contract matters, including the potentially worrying prospect of someone tempting Olise away from Selhurst Park.
“I was Steve Parish I would be (worried),” said the Eagles boss. “But I’m Roy Hodgson for the next few weeks and I wish them all well. I don’t have any conversations regarding contracts and what the club wants to do.
“If ever they need an opinion from me I know they’ll ask for it but I certainly won’t be proferring it.”
Olise’s assist to set up Jordan Ayew for Palace’s first-half equaliser made him the youngest player to register nine or more Premier League assists since Trent Alexander-Arnold did the same in 2018-19.
He became the first signing for Hodgson’s successor turned sacked predecessor Patrick Vieira when he joined Palace on a five-year deal in 2021, and has netted twice for the Eagles this season, a figure Olise’s current boss challenged him to improve on.
Hodgson said: “I think he needs to get more goals. He’s got goals in him. He cut inside on his left foot on a few occasions and got good strikes away.
“But all the time he’s producing those goals for us like he’s doing, we’re more than happy with him. He’s another player I see getting better in terms of doing things we want him to do.”
Olise is a rumoured summer target for Arsenal, though Hodgson on Friday agreed he and 24-year-old Eberechi Eze possess the potential to ascend to the same talismanic status as Zaha
He said: “I do believe that those two players, if they continue to progress as they have done, if they continue to milk their skills and ability as they have done so far, why can’t they go on to have the sort of career that Wilf has had?”
Like Zaha, who is out of contract with Palace at the end of the season, Hodgson’s future with the club remains uncertain.
He would not discuss his tenure, but admitted working with this Eagles squad – and all but securing their safety on Saturday as they hit the 40-point mark – has lifted his spirits as much as the 75-year-old has seemingly buoyed theirs, resulting in four wins, one draw and a single defeat since his arrival.
He added: “I was enjoying my life. I love my wife and enjoy her company very much so there’s no problems with that. But it was nice to be invited back into this environment which I’ve been a part of for so long and still enjoy so much.
“Meeting this group of players and being able to work with them has given me an even further boost. I’ve got another month to enjoy, which I shall.”
West Ham supporters might have hoped their relegation-battling side could pick up at least a point at Palace before a challenging run that will see them face both Manchester City and Manchester United and take on AZ Alkmaar in the first leg of their Europa Conference League semi-final.
Saturday’s Selhurst Park encounter was the Irons’ third in match in seven days, and while boss David Moyes refused to fully blame fatigue as a factor he admitted the congestion “probably didn’t help us”.
He said: “I don’t think anybody in any way should underestimate how well Crystal Palace are doing at the moment, how well they’re playing.”