Crystal Palace co-owner and chairman Steve Parish says he is currently in the process of rewarding several players for what they’ve achieved this season.
The Eagles have impressed under new manager Patrick Vieira and are on the cusp of a top-ten finish in the Premier League having already reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup this season. Vieira has brought a new, possession-based style of play to south London which has been complemented well by Palace’s summer recruitment.
Parish and sporting director Dougie Freedman worked tirelessly to bring in young, hungry players that would fit Vieira’s mould, with centre-backs Marc Guehi and Joachim Andersen two of the early players through the door. Midfielder Conor Gallagher – who won Palace’s Player of the Season award on Monday night – also arrived on loan via Chelsea, while Odsonne Edouard and Will Hughes helped create more competition for places.
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One of the best signings though has been Michael Olise, who joined for a fee of £8million from Championship side Reading after winning the EFL Young Player of the Year award with the Royals last season. The 20-year-old winger has settled into life at Selhurst Park quickly, so much so that Parish and the club have reportedly reopened his contract negotiations to ward off transfer interest in the youngster.
Olise is thought to have a £35million release clause in his four-year deal, though this is now set to be pushed above the £50million that Palace received from Manchester United for Aaron Wan-Bissaka in 2019. That would mean Olise would become Palace’s record sale if an incoming club were to trigger his new release clause, though in the short term the new deal provides a commitment that he’ll remain in south London for the time being.
And it’s not just Olise who is being rewarded for his efforts this year, with Parish revealing he was having several similar conversations with other members of the Palace squad.
“We don’t comment on individual players but Michael’s had a great first season,” the chairman told reporters at Palace’s end of season awards night on Tuesday. “He’s really happy here and obviously when you get young players sometimes you look to amend things early to reward them for the things they’ve done.
“There are a number of those types of conversations going on with different players and it’s always about doing the right thing early. I think that’s important in football, that you don’t hang around and wait until events overtake you. You try and get out in front of those events and deal with things. There’s a lot of stuff like that going on.”
One deal that Parish and co got completed early was tying down striker Jean-Philippe Mateta to a permanent deal at the club six months before his loan from German side Mainz was due to expire. The Frenchman signed a contract until 2026 with the club after forcing his way into Vieira’s starting XI and becoming his first-choice for the second half of the season.
That deal mirrors how the club are acting early on several other players and putting faith in their abilities before other teams come looking. That won’t always be the best tactic and there will be a nuance in how each deal is put together, but it shows how Palace are keeping track of their players and what they think they can offer in the future.
“You have seen how people like Jean-Philippe have grown this season,” added Parish. “He is a fantastic story and doesn’t get enough mention. If we are honest, when he first arrived probably people were unsure but he has worked so hard and makes the best of every attribute he has got.
“His attitude on the pitch, any footballer who wants to watch somebody who has always got a positive mental attitude on the pitch and is encouraging people, spurring people on, keeps running and trying, he is a model professional. He does loads of extra work, is always looking to improve himself.”
Source by Football London