Some Celtic fans have this afternoon been reacting to the news that Olivier Ntcham is reportedly in “advanced talks” with West Ham regarding a deal.
According to a report from FootMercarto, the midfielder is in discussions with the English Premier League side. With former Celtic manager David Moyes in charge, he’ll be well aware of what Ntcham can offer.
The report doesn’t reveal a valuation for his services or indeed what the offer was that West Ham put forward to Celtic. However, they also state that West Ham have another option in Pape Cheikh Diop, who’s also a central midfielder.
Sections of the Celtic support have already been reacting to the news on social media. Here’s a look at what some of them are saying:
Wouldn’t sell Ntcham man people don’t appreciate that when he’s on his game he’s up there with the best in the league
— BM (@Benmclean88) January 29, 2020
Don’t sell Ntcham, Olivier Ntcham
— marc (@_mrc67) January 29, 2020
If ntcham leaves that's the final straw 2020 is finished
— Z (@monchensaderzak) January 29, 2020
I really hope we don’t let Ntcham go this late in the window. Be a shocking move.
— L.67 (@Popes_11) January 29, 2020
What's all this Ntcham talk? Away, surely not?
One of our better midfielders when on form, after a good run of games Lennon's folly was to leave him out of the Glasgow derby where our midfield lacked the strength and range of passing that Ntcham possesses.
Daft to sell him now.
— Cal MacKenzie (@kombuchis_clay) January 29, 2020
I’m not even a big fan but 9IAR will be won by Oli Ntcham so selling is not an option
— Aidn (@aidnmc) January 29, 2020
If ntcham goes we riot
— aidan (@aidanfellowes67) January 29, 2020
If we sell Ntcham then this is an horrific transfer window!
— StMiley (@StMiley) January 29, 2020
A move that can’t be sanctioned
If Ntcham were to depart, you could question the validity of whether Celtic would’ve strengthened in the transfer window. Just because Ismaila Soro has arrived doesn’t mean that we should be letting Ntcham leave. He’s been worth every penny of the £4.5m we splashed out for him back in the summer of 2017 (BBC).
Interestingly, West Ham have this afternoon announced the signing of another midfielder, Tomas Soucek. That could perhaps be a boot for us if they’re only looking to bring in one central midfielder.
Of course, your mind also reflects back to what happened with the Frenchman in the summer. After telling L’Equipe that he was fancying a move from Parkhead, Neil Lennon had discussions with him and soothed things over (Daily Record).
We don’t really know how those discussions went outside of Lennon telling us everything had effectively been sorted. It’s not inconceivable that he would perhaps have been allowed to leave this month when we signed a replacement (Soro). That’s just me speculating of course.
The truth is if we sold Ntcham, who has four goals and five assists in 31 appearances (Transfermarkt), we would once again be lacking cover in central midfield. Take him out of the equation and we then only have Scott Brown, Callum McGregor, and Soro available for engine-room cover. Nir Bitton is available, but pushing him forwards is a step backward.
Hopefully, this ends up being nothing. If Celtic and Ntcham are to part ways, it will hopefully only happen at the end of the season. Now isn’t the time to be selling our higher-quality players.