Marseille boss explains why Celtic star Olivier Ntcham isn't playing in France

By David Walton

March 2, 2021

Marseille boss Nasser Larguet has explained why Celtic star Olivier Ntcham has barely played since signing on loan.

The French midfielder went back to his homeland at the end of the transfer window on a season-long loan agreement. It was expected that Ntcham would feature regularly and try to earn a move permanently.

However, things haven’t been going great since then. He’s only managed 72 minutes out of six possible games. Ntcham has been sitting behind the likes of Boubacar Kamara and Papa Gueye. For the third consecutive game at the weekend, the Celtic man was left out as he sat on the bench as an unused substitute against Lyon.

Larguet has stated why Olivier isn’t getting the game-time we all expected. And in a nutshell, it’s not great news as he effectively told fans he isn’t performing as well as those ahead of him.

As quoted by RMC Sport, the interim Marseille manager said: “Today he suffers a little from the good health of Bouba Kamara and Pape Gueye. But it is true that he is as ready as the others to be able to play. He’s a real professional. It’s a real plus for the team.

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“All players have a role to play in the matches to come. It is true that Olivier Ntcham is coming. Frankly, he’s a nice guy, he’s a hard worker. He did a lot of extra sessions – he came to extra sessions because he had that period of inactivity. He really is a true professional.”

In a nutshell, Marseille absences for Olivier Ntcham down to Celtic star not being good enough

Spin this however you want. Some will feel it’s a boost for the Frenchman that he’s been promised opportunities. However, what this effectively reads like is that he simply isn’t deemed better than what Marseille have.

That hardly injects hope that the club will look to sign him permanently. And make no mistake, that’s something that would be best for both Celtic and the player. It’s clear Ntcham’s heart isn’t in it at Parkhead anymore and that he feels it’s time for a move.

But it’s difficult to see that happening with Marseille. Remember, their former boss Andre Villas Boas left the club. They’ve yet to make a long-term decision on their new manager. It’s likely that the decision will only be made at the end of the campaign.

Olivier Ntcham in action for Marseille (Photo by ROMAIN PERROCHEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

It’s similar to the situation at Celtic. Nobody would expect the likes of Diego Laxalt or Jonjoe Kenny to be here next season. Firstly because they’ve not been good enough, and secondly because they were brought in by the old regime. Ntcham’s situation is similar. Well, kind of.

With respect, the only way he could’ve forced through a move was if he proved he was a standout for the Ligue 1 side. Not a back-uo squad player looking for some opportunities to play.

This move to Marseille already looks like a waste of time. Come the summer, a new solution for him will most likely need to be found.

In other news, Celtic have been given a timely Tuesday boost today.