Olivier Ntcham was offering nothing but exit again exposes Celtic failures

By John McGinley

August 1, 2021

I don’t think there will be too many Celtic supporters that miss Olivier Ntcham.

The club have officially announced the exit of the French midfielder, seemingly releasing him from his contract without compensation.

In truth, his Celtic career has felt over for a long time. Despite his farewell message today, he actually said goodbye to supporters at the end of the winter transfer window following his loan move to Marseille.

That he arrived back into the first-team squad, pre-season trip to Wales and eventually a friendly match was a minor miracle. Now he’s gone, and it’s probably for the best.

However, the entire saga does again expose issues at Celtic that need to be addressed. We badly need someone to come into the club and take control of our transfers, squad succession planning and football department.

Clearly, Ange Postecoglou has enough on his plate just coaching the team and getting them up to speed with his style of football. That’s going to be an ongoing process in and of itself.

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Postecoglou needs someone in a traditional director of football role to liaise with the board and take the lead on managing our footballing assets.

The way the squad has been allowed to regress and be chopped up over the last 18 months, patchworked by poor loans, is nothing short of scandalous. What’s worse, nobody appears able to take ownership of the situation.

Ntcham, once considered a prime sellable midfielder, has walked out of the club for nothing despite having a contract that ran until 2022. Ryan Christie is on the verge of doing the same. We’ve also backed ourselves into a corner when it comes to the Odsonne Edouard situation.

Who is in charge of managing these situations and realising best value for our players? Everyone assumed it was Peter Lawwell previously, who is it now? None of us really have a clue.

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We need someone that can offer a clear vision. Someone, working in conjunction with the manager, who can build a viable, competitive squad. We need someone who ensures Celtic look ahead to the next 12 to 18 months, rather than firefighting in the moment and even, in the case of this summer, looking back at the recruitment sins of last year.

I have no doubt Celtic are better off without Ntcham than with him. But do we have a ready-made replacement lined up? Can we really say this is Celtic working by design? Or, is it just another stumble on a long road of decline?

Get the staff in place to support Postecoglou. Get the players he needs in the squad. Get it sorted, Celtic.

In other news, Celtic getting rid of Craig Gordon wasn’t the problem; failing to replace him was.