Former Manchester United and Leeds United player Alan Smith has issued a warning against Manchester United signing Crystal Palace’s Michael Olise, stating that it would be a mistake similar to the one made with Wilfried Zaha.
Olise, who has also attracted interest from Chelsea and Liverpool, is a rising star in the Premier League, having scored five goals in nine games this season.
Smith cautioned against rushing into a decision and emphasized the importance of careful recruitment, suggesting that United need to sign players who have experience at a top club. He highlighted the risk of repeating the errors made with Zaha, who moved from Crystal Palace to Manchester United in 2013 but failed to make a significant impact.
The former England international urged Manchester United to focus on rebuilding with the right personnel, considering long-term plans rather than seeking quick fixes. Smith emphasized the need for players whose characteristics align with the club’s expectations and questioned whether Olise had the experience of playing for a club with similar standards as Manchester United.
Smith expressed concerns about the potential short-term approach and urged Manchester United to avoid signing players solely based on immediate needs, emphasizing the importance of players who have played at big clubs.
Michael Olise, a 22-year-old France under-21 international, reportedly has a summer release clause of £60 million ($76 million). The warning comes as the January transfer window deadline approaches, with potential suitors having until February 1 to secure a deal for Olise.
WHAT ALAN SMITH SAID
He told BritishGambler.co.uk: “I feel like I wouldn’t be rushing into anything at this moment in time. That’s where United have been over the last few years with their recruitment policy. This again might be ‘Are we jumping in because we need something?’
“For Man United not to get Champions League this year, everyone will see as a big problem, but if you’re gonna rebuild, make sure that the structure is correct and you’re buying the correct personnel. We aren’t just buying someone for this transfer window, we are buying them for five years.
“It might sound like we are giving up this season, but we can’t just keep throwing money at it and see if it works, and that has never been the Man United way.”
He added: “I think regardless of who they are, it needs to the right fit – do the characteristics fit. Are we going down the same route as the signing of Wilfried Zaha? There’s a huge difference between playing for Crystal Palace and Man United and sometimes if you’ve not done the research on the player’s personality, you’re taking a chance on anybody coming to Man United.
“Have they played at a huge club? Have they played at a club that demands the same expectations as Man United? That’s where the short-term of going do we just sign someone because we need somebody, instead of signing someone for the future of the club. Playing at a big club has to be the remit. Playing at a club with the same standards.”
Dimitar Berbatov, another former Manchester United player, also raised questions about Olise’s ability to make a successful transition to a club of United’s stature.