Celtic's Olivier Ntcham suffering early struggles with Marseille

By David Walton

March 1, 2021

It appears that Celtic’s Olivier Ntcham is struggling in his early days back home with Marseille.

The Hoops midfielder left the club to join the Ligue 1 side on loan back in January. Citing the reasons for his departure, Ntcham claimed that having a player like him with his experience would prove to be an asset for his new club. He also promised to inject positivity into the dressing-room [Glasgow Times].

But things haven’t quite worked out how Olivier may have imagined.

The Frenchman, signed by Celtic from Manchester City for a reported £4.5m [BBC], has barely been given an opportunity with his new club.

Ntcham has been eligible for six of Marseille’s seven games since he signed. The only match he wasn’t able to feature in was a Ligue 1 clash vs Nice due to not being registered at the time of the original game. In the other six, he’s yet to bag a single start for the club.

"Carl Starfelt to Celtic is a big possibility" | Swedish journalist Anel Avdić

Celtic’s Olivier Ntcham not getting the game-time he would’ve imagined with Marseille

Ntcham has only played 71 minutes for his new side in his first four weeks. Those were made up of two substitute appearances against Bordeaux and Auxerre respectively [Transfermarkt].

Instead, manager Jorge Sampaoli has selected the likes of Pape Alassane Gueye and Boubacar Kamara in his central midfield slots. When he’s needed some inspiration from the bench, Mickael Cuisance has often been the go-to man.

Ntcham, meanwhile, has been forced to sit on the sidelines. It was the same last night in their 1-1 draw against Lyon. Despite playing the final 20 minutes against 10 men, the Celtic star had to watch on from the bench.

Olivier Ntcham in action against Bordeaux (Photo by Jonathan Bartolozzi/Olympique de Marseille via Getty Images)

Let’s not kid ourselves, time is already running out for the Frenchman to make an impact. Marseille have 13 matches remaining this season (potentially more depending on French Cup success). Not getting many opportunities in his first six is a blow. If he goes through a run like that again, his season will be almost over.

With a reported £8.6m option-to-buy clause [France Football], he needs to perform in order to bag what would be a dream permanent switch for him. If Marseille were to make a decision now, Ntcham would be back in Glasgow before the end of the day.

So we’ll see what the next few months brings, but it’s time for Olivier to start showing the undoubted talent he has.

In other news, the Celtic supporters have been providing mixed responses to an SPFL club’s Parkhead detour yesterday.