Celtic are set to undergo a massive overhaul over the coming months as they look to put this season behind them and start afresh in 2021/2022. This will involve a number of players departing Parkhead and one of them looks likely to be Olivier Ntcham.
The French midfielder joined Marseille in January on a loan till the end of the season and they have an option to buy, which is set at something around £4.5-£5.5 million according to most sources.
Ntcham was always considered to be one of the most technically gifted players at the club but it had been quite some time since he had shown any progress. It is arguable that he had played his best football under Brendan Rodgers and never managed to match those standards under Neil Lennon.
At one time he was valued at around £13 million and that shows how his stock has fallen over the last couple of years. And Christopher Jullien has admitted that Ntcham’s career was starting to stagnate in Scotland. While speaking to La Provence, the Celtic defender said:
"“He had taken a step forward in Glasgow but he was starting to stagnate, because he remains in Scotland.“He needed a new challenge. I see him succeeding at OM, he has everything he needs to achieve this.“This stage will be able to make him grow even more. He has always had the qualities to aim for a major championship like Ligue 1.”"
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Celtic made the right decision by letting Ntcham leave
The fact that a club like Marseille wanted him just goes on to show how highly he is rated back in France. And he has already made his debut for them, in a 2-0 victory over Auxerre in the French Cup, where he came on as a substitute.
Celtic are expected to bring in a new manager in the summer and there is an argument to be made that they should have kept hold of Ntcham until then. But to be honest, they made the right decision by allowing him to leave.
He was not a player who was absolutely key to this squad at this point of time and it has always felt like he wanted to move back to France. Thus, they did well to get a decent fee out of his departure, if Marseille do decide to sign him permanently at the end of the season. We can only wish him the best of luck and hope that he does well for them.