Outlandish Olivier Ntcham rumours should surely wake Celtic up

By Euan Davidson

May 25, 2021

The Olivier Ntcham stories emerging over the last few days should really bother Celtic.

After all, even after a bad season, we’re talking about an asset here. It feels awful and reductive to reduce people to their potential transfer fee, granted. But Ntcham, even a season ago, was a multi-million-pound footballer.

A loan at Marseille went about as horribly as it could’ve. The Frenchman struggled to get into Jorge Sampaoli’s side, having been part of a transfer that alienated Andrés Villas-Boas entirely. The board, it seemed, were making moves without their manager’s consent, particularly the Celtic midfielder.

That doesn’t mean his career is over, though. Nor should it mean that Celtic should release a player we could’ve sold for a significant profit in September 2020 [Glasgow Times]. As much as we all want to rebuild after a grim season, the idea of releasing a player who could bring in £4m-5m for a club of our size is utter lunacy.

How do these rumours gain traction? In a vacuum. And while Celtic shouldn’t entertain every inch of gossip from across the internet, they could have nipped this in the bud if they know it to not be true. While the club may not have taken the issue very seriously, Ntcham’s agent might. And it’s his agent they’ll likely be fielding angry calls from for much of this week.

Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham / (Photo by Silvia Lore/Getty Images)

Celtic communication needs to get better, Olivier Ntcham being the prime example

Now, this isn’t to criticise the Celtic social media team, those doing PR, or anything else. This is a problem that comes from the top.

You could imagine that, should this rumour have emerged from any other club, there would’ve been leaks in the press shutting the story down instantly. Or, indeed, something for the club to suggest that Ntcham leaving for free wasn’t happening. It’s less than a year since Ntcham was an important player at Celtic, after all.

In 19-20, the Frenchman showed flashes of brilliance, not least in the Europa League. Even though he’s had a season to forget, we’re still talking about – we assume – one of the highest-paid players at the club, who could still be a vital cog under a new manager.

To an extent, Celtic did appear to use the media to shut the rumour down, with the Sunday Mail’s chief Football writer Scott McDermott clearing the issue up. Still, some actual word from the club could’ve really saved face for player and institution alike.

It’s just a bit amateurish, isn’t it? It’s already set the rumour mill into overdrive, with clubs from all over being linked with a bogus “free transfer” that isn’t going to happen. As supporters, we plough money into the club, and we have a right to seek clarity on issues involving our players.

We’ve got to assume it’ll get better than this.

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