The reason Olivier Ntcham will leave Celtic this year despite revival talk

By David Walton

May 10, 2021

Olivier Ntcham is due to arrive back at Celtic from Marseille in two games’ time – expect him to leave again almost as quickly.

In recent weeks, there has been some amount of talk over a potential Parkhead revival for him. First up, interim boss John Kennedy outlined his belief that the door is still open for Ntcham to cement his long-term Celtic future. The club apparently won’t close any doors on him [The Herald].

Chris Sutton was next to talk up Ntcham making an impact next season. He stated that the Frenchman may have now realised that the grass isn’t always greener away from Parkhead [Daily Record]. This comes after Olivier’s dreadful loan spell in Ligue 1 in which he’s been frozen out under new manager Jorge Sampaoli.

Add into all that – we have a new manager coming in the door. Nothing screams “fresh start” than the prospect of a new boss who would arrive with a clean slate for everything. Yep, it all sounds idyllic.

However, that would be going under the assumption that Ntcham actually wants to be here. He’s proven over the last two years at least that his eyes have been set on moving elsewhere.

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Even as far back as 2019, Ntcham was talking himself up for a move back to France. He stated that he would thrive in Ligue 1 and that he was too good for Scottish football [L’Equipe].

Olivier Ntcham returning to Celtic will only be temporary

Neil Lennon would then state back in February that Ntcham had lost his passion to play for Celtic. Ex-Hoops boss Lennon revealed that Ntcham was “fed up” and “indifferent” about Scottish football [Scottish Sun].

Just because he’s had a troubled couple of months in France doesn’t mean his whole outlook on football will have changed. Ntcham has only played six times for the Ligue 1 club during his loan stint. He’ll likely just feel as though he hasn’t been given a fair chance.

In addition to that, Ntcham is into the final year of his Celtic contract. He has to be sold along with the likes of Kris Ajer and Odsonne Edouard. We need as much in the way of transfer cash as we can get. Ntcham represents a fine opportunity to rake in a few extra million for the rebuild.

Olivier Ntcham has been a failure with Marseille (Photo by Jonathan Bartolozzi/Olympique de Marseille via Getty Images)

He falls into the same category as Edouard and Ajer when it comes to potential reasons for leaving Celtic too. Even if he hasn’t shone here for the best part of 18 months, Ntcham believes he’s too good for Scottish football. To think that may have changed for whatever reason is far too optimistic.

Ntcham isn’t at Marseille because he was offering us nothing. He’s not there to get a few games under his belt before coming back to stake a claim in pre-season. His was instead an unusual move in that he wants to test himself at a higher level and a loan deal was the only option.

For a personality like his, he’ll only be even more determined to prove people wrong after his failed Marseille move. Any talk of an extended Celtic stay is borderline nonsensical.

In other news, we discuss the firm message Celtic must send to Marian Shved and KV Mechelen this week.