Celtic refusing to give up on Olivier Ntcham; talks to be held

By David Walton

May 2, 2021

Celtic won’t give up on any hope of Olivier Ntcham staying on beyond the summer.

Ntcham is currently on loan with Marseille in France after wanting to leave the Hoops for a prolonged period of time. Despite the fact the Frenchman left in January, he’s added nothing to Celtic this season and struggled during the first half of the campaign.

It had been assumed that Ntcham would leave permanently in the summer regardless of how his Marseille spell turned out. After all, with a contract that expires in 2022 and a lack of a desire to get his Celtic career back on track, it looks like the logical next step for all parties.

But after a torrid time back in his homeland, Celtic aren’t ruling out a renaissance. John Kennedy touched on Ntcham’s situation yesterday, and he believes there could easily be a Celtic reprieve for the midfielder.

“Could be a big part of the club”

As quoted by the Herald, Kennedy said: “We’re not closing any doors on Olivier. I spoke to him a few weeks ago and I have a good relationship with him. He was keen to get out for a new challenge and the club agreed on that. It was good for both of us at that time.

“But if there’s going to be changes in the summer, Olivier might be motivated to give Celtic another shot. He’s a very good player as we know so that’s a conversation that will have to take place at the end of the season if Olivier wants to come back and fight to be at Celtic.

“He could be a big part of the club moving forward because he’s a talented player. Marseille hasn’t worked out for him and sometimes the grass isn’t greener. He’s a good lad, he’s professional and in the coming weeks the club will need to speak to him about how his future looks.”

Celtic and Olivier Ntcham no longer look like a good fit for each other

The truth is that Ntcham has been a difficult player to get behind since the summer of 2019. Remember, he made comments as far back as then about leaving Celtic before Neil Lennon’s first full season back in charge [L’Equipe].

Since then, he’s hardly been a constant in the Celtic side. Before January, he had been out of the starting line-up for our last 11 league matches. He simply hadn’t been contributing effectively for too long. That’s why not many Celtic fans were left gutted by his departure – it was hardly a major blow for the football club.

It’s not been a surprise to see him toil either. Ntcham wasn’t playing with any sort of swagger to suggest he was going to do big things in France. He’ll come back to Scotland in the summer now and with a year left on his contract having failed to impress in his homeland.

  Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham on loan at Marseille / (Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images)

Of course, you can see Kennedy’s thinking here. The Brendan Rodgers signing, who arrived at Parkhead back in the summer of 2017, is still a talented footballer. He hasn’t lost his ability, but his confidence is shot. If Celtic can revive him and he wants to go again in Glasgow, you can see the benefits.

However, it’s highly unlikely that Ntcham is going to sign a new contract. Even if he fancied picking himself up over the next 12 months, all we’re doing is developing someone else’s player. He can leave for absolutely nothing come January.

If Celtic are going to try to make something out of Ntcham, they need to protect their investment with a new deal. Can you honestly see him signing one? Unfortunately, it flies in the face of all evidence.

In other news, Davie Provan has brilliantly destroyed this Rangers myth ahead of today’s Glasgow Derby showdown.