Celtic travelled to Tynecastle this weekend to clash heads with promoted Hearts. But the outcome proved to be a dreadful one as they ended up losing 2-1 in their opening league fixture. While Ange Postecoglou and his boys are fighting hard to regain the lost status of this prestigious outfit, Olivier Ntcham was found attending Marseille’s pre-season fixture against Villarreal at the Stade Velodrome.
The 25-year-old Frenchman has been impressive in Celtic colours. However, he never wanted to settle down at Parkhead and criticized the club’s stance publicly when they knocked back Porto a few years ago. He was reintegrated into the first-team set-up by Neil Lennon, but his form declined with time as he kept on pushing for an exit.
What Went Wrong For Olivier Ntcham
The midfielder grabbed the escape route when Marseille came calling earlier this year for an initial loan. But the outcome proved to be catastrophic leading to manager André Villas-Boas’ rift with the board. The club went against his wishes to recruit Ntcham and the very next day, the Portuguese stepped down as Marseille boss.
The player hardly featured for the Phocaeans and the deal was not made permanent for obvious reasons. He still has a year left in his Celtic contract and the club demanded a fee from AEK Athens who agreed personal terms with Ntcham earlier this summer. The Greek giants were expecting to have him on a Bosman and therefore, pulled out of the move despite weeks of negotiations.
Why Celtic Have Moved On
The former France youth international reported for pre-season in an attempt to stake a claim in Postecoglou’s plans. He was seeking a fresh start, but the gaffer omitted him from the Champions League squad. Ntcham never seemed to have a future with the Hoops and the speculations resurfaced once more as he was found enjoying the game from close to the dugout.
The Bhoys have a few decent midfield options in their ranks, but the likes of Callum McGregor, Ismaila Soro, David Turnbull and Tom Rogic must step in and deliver following the egress of iconic Scott Brown. Reinforcements are essential all over the pitch, particularly in the middle of the park where they lack depth as well as flexibility.
It is to be seen now whether the French hotshots revive interest in Ntcham. There’s still a month left in this transfer window and the mutual termination has now boosted the Hoops financially before investing in squad reconstruction.