CELTIC have received no bids for want away midfeider Olivier Ntcham. The Frenchman, who reckons he is too good for Scottish football, returned to Lennoxtown on Monday morning and the first thing he had to do was explain himself to Celtic manager Neil Lennon, after his disrespectful interview in the French press the previous weekend.
Yesterday Lenny gave us an update on how this has all played out this week after the manager sat down to talk to the player who has been linked with Marseille, Porto and Lyon. First he confirmed that no bids had come in for Ntcham, so far anyway.
“There has been nothing so far. It’s a question of him knuckling down now, being a Celtic player and doing what he is good at. That’s what we want from him.
“He is back in with the squad and the players so it is not an issue now.”
Asked about the conversation the two of them had on Monday, Lenny explained what had gone on.
“Whether you want to call it clear- the-air talks, I spoke to Olivier on Monday so that’s all resolved. He was disappointed with the way his comments came across in the French media and said the journalist concerned had phoned him to apologise.
“He gave me his side of it and we gave him our side of it and the slate is wiped clean.
“I don’t want to go into detail but I made my feelings pretty clear when I responded to it last week.
“I don’t like that sort of mindset towards the club. We’re not a stepping stone for anyone, we’re here to win things and be successful and progress players if that’s what they want — or keep good players for as long as possible.
“We’re a big club and you’ve seen over the years that top-quality players have progressed here in the Scottish environment. He has looked at that and he will look to start getting better again.”
Ntcham’s problem is that he hardly set the heather on fire last season, where he was either injured or perhaps in the huff. He seemed to take the transfer of his best pal Moussa Dembele pretty badly, although he did manage to score the winner against the Rangers at Celtic Park shortly after that happened.
Last week’s exercise could be looked at cynically as a means of forcing Celtic to accept a lower transfer price that they are looking for. That is unlikely to work with Peter Lawwell or Neil Lennon.
The Celtic manager therefore has taken exactly the correct steps this week and Ntcham will remain a Celtic player until such time as a suitable offer comes in and is accepted by Celtic. Remember Ntcham was happy to sign a new deal with the club last October, which gave him a substantial pay-rise.
That extension means that Celtic are in no rush to transfer him but he has to get back to being 100% committed to playing for the club. That means not like last season’s dismal efforts, Olivier.
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