Olivier Ntcham’s future at Celtic certainly looks a whole lot brighter than it did at the start of the year.
The Frenchman struggled for form last season and looked to have lost his way. Comments in July to L’Equipe suggested that he wanted to leave the club for Marseille. In the end, of course, the former Manchester City man stayed in Glasgow.
However, a report from French media outlet La Provence has claimed that “Celtic-appointed intermediaries” tried to sell Ntcham to the Ligue 1 side in January. With his future up in the air at the time, Celtic apparently wanted between €10m and €12m for his services.
La Provence claims that Marseille director of football Andoni Zubizarreta had already turned his attention to Nantes midfielder Valentin Rongier. The French side would sign their man in January too.
It’s not surprising then that Marseille therefore didn’t come in for Ntcham this summer. They clearly have their man, and don’t seem willing to spend big money on another player for the same position.
Ntcham’s Celtic position a lot more secure
It’s incredible how much time can heal wounds in football. After a season of pretty woeful form and a summer of uncertainty, Ntcham is back in the good books in Glasgow once again.
He’s showing a passion that he didn’t seem to have last term. Whatever discussions he had with Neil Lennon over the summer, they’ve clearly worked. Ntcham’s all-round game seems to be back at its sharpest.
Of course, his previous struggles have still left him as a back-up player at Parkhead. Lennon still seems to prefer the combination of Scott Brown and Callum McGregor for big games. Ntcham, however, has still managed 13 appearances this season, and remains a big part of Lennon’s plans.
So things have improved on both sides. Celtic are happy to have Ntcham in the squad with the manager clearly seeing him as a good talent to have. Ntcham, meanwhile, appears to understand his position at Parkhead.
The midfielder did start Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Easter Road, and largely performed well on the day. You can see Ntcham’s confidence and swagger returning to him once again.
As the season rolls on, hopefully we continue to see this more expressive side of the Frenchman. Compared to January, he’s in a much better place.