Olivier Ntcham has been a crucial player for Celtic since he joined from Manchester City last year. So far he has made 66 appearances and has a tally of 13 goals and seven assists. The Frenchman has formed a strong partnership with Scott Brown in midfield and both of them used to steamroll and overpower their opponents when they were at their best.
However, Ntcham’s form of late would be a worrying sign for Brendan Rodgers, and maybe it’s time to drop him for someone who is willing to put in a significant shift for the manager and the club.
Reports in the summer suggested that Celtic rejected Porto’s bid of £13m for the French midfielder. Premier League club, West Ham United also made an inquiry, but Rodgers was able to keep hold of his man. Now it seems, all such rumours and approaches have taken a toll on Ntcham as he seems disinterested while he is on the pitch and that has affected Celtic’s performance off late.
At his best, the 22-year-old is a dynamic midfielder as he is strong on the ball and has good ability to pick out a pass. His work rate was also alright, but now it seems like he is just going through his motions and waiting for January to push for a move away from the club. Losing Moussa Dembele was a massive blow for the Hoops, and if Premier League clubs once again come calling for the midfielder in the winter transfer period, one can expect the player’s head to turn.
All this would be a worrying sign for Rodgers as he has a lot on his plate already. Dedryck Boyata is also going to be a tough situation to handle, and it is yet not clear whether the club would sell him in January or let him leave for free next summer. The club should also be on a lookout for Dembele’s replacement, and Rodgers might have to play hardball to keep hold of Ntcham.
As for now, maybe dropping him from the side would be the right idea. We know given the Frenchman’s talent and abilities, he can be classified as the best midfielder in the squad, but if he doesn’t want to fight for the badge anymore, then Rodgers needs to take such a harsh step. Maybe after he sits on the bench for few games, the manager might get a reaction from him on the pitch.
Youssouf Mulumbu has done well in whatever opportunities he has gotten, and he can fill in the void of Ntcham for a little while. Rodgers would want his main midfielder to be back at his best as the club tries to win yet another title.
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