Olivier Ntcham has tonight completed a move to Marseille on a six-month loan deal, with Les Olympiques given the option to buy the Frenchman for £4.5m at the end of his tenure – the same price Celtic bought him for back in 2017.
Ntcham has struggled as of late, not playing for Celtic in over a month and finding a starting berth hard to nail down given the imperious form of Ismaila Soro, David Turnbull and the leadership of Scott Brown and Conor McGregor. It is all but a far cry from his early days when, under the spell of Brendan Rodgers, the Frenchman was in the starting XI most weeks and played some scintillating football which captured the attentions of Newcastle and Porto – with the latter reportedly offering £17m for his services last summer.
Ntcham earned the hearts of Celtic fans over the years by chipping in with vital goals; most memorably a winner against theRangers back in September 2018 and a famous last-minute winner against Italian giants Lazio last season – which meant Celtic progressed to the knockout rounds of the Europa League, and more importantly let 3,000 Glaswegians roam around Rome with Moretti and Peroni flowing farther than the eye could see.
However, those performances have dried up as of late, with Ntcham being frozen out of the first team picture, and ultimately a decision was mate to send him on loan to France. Fans have voiced their dismay at the board and his attitude, with the majority saying good riddance to the once promising youngster.
Ntcham, like many in our dressing room is an imposter. Be good to even get 4.5M ? However, I reckon he'll sent back after loan. 😬
— Celtic Symphony (@DM8883) February 1, 2021
Ntcham scored a few important and cracking goals for us. The type of player that is the best player at the club when he’s not playing. Probably suited to a league where he’ll get more time on the ball https://t.co/Z7bTzyfiOd
— Christopher McManus (@chrismcmanus90) February 1, 2021
Far to inconsistent should have sold him last year when he wanted to go and there was interest
— Bigpauleymcg1888 (@Pauleymcg1888) February 1, 2021
Good riddance to Olivier Ntcham.
Couple great moments against Lazio and Rangers but that was really it. Apart from that he was piss poor, wasn't good enough.
— Liam Boyle (@xliamboyle) February 1, 2021
However, when you look at the Celtic fans who had their hatred-tinted spectacles off, you begin to realise than Ntcham was actually a decent player; he just largely suffered under Lennon.
Watched the Glasgow derby in a pub in Marseille (funnily enough) when Ntcham scored the winner 😎. And Lazio away was incredible 😍
Thanks for the memories big man 🍀 https://t.co/6kt4DOy4Fk
— Kevin Thomas Galla9her (@KevTGallagher) February 1, 2021
In November 2019, Ntcham scored the winner v Lazio, a month later Lennon dropped him for an unfit Mikey Johnston v Rangers 😂😂😂
Even this season he played the 10 role with Christie as the striker ahead of him. How is a player supposed to flourish in that?
— Kitson (@Kitson67) February 1, 2021
It is a strange atmosphere at Celtic Park at the minute, typified by Ntcham’s departure; the potential the young Frenchman had when he walked through the door at Lennoxtown was immense, having been trained in one of the best academies in British football. Under Rodgers he carried this on and looked a formidable player, but as with a lot of things in the spell of Neil Lennon, it just hasn’t gone to plan. All the best to Olivier in his spell in France, and hopefully he kicks on from here.