Olivier Ntcham was very outspoken about wanting to ply his trade at a higher level during his Celtic career. His wish was granted in January, when he joined Marseille on loan with the French club having the option to make his switch permanent in the summer for £4.5m. However, he has endured a tough time of it in Ligue 1 and has struggled to break into the first team.
The 25-year-old was subbed at half-time in a shock Coupe de France defeat at the hands of Canet Roussillon and has also been taken off at the break in Ligue 1 games against Lille and Nice. Life was tough for him under André Villas-Boas, but Ntcham hasn’t been handed a chance in the Marseille side by new boss Jorge Sampaoli either, since a late cameo against Montpellier at the start of the month.
It seems almost certain that he won’t remain in Southern France beyond this season and his own woes, combined with the disappointment of the team, have been blasted by the French media this week. Indeed, La Provence has just published a run-down of the January business at the Stade Velodrome, in which they highlighted the Celtic player for stinging criticism.
The newspaper wrote: “All you have to do is watch the behaviour of the former Atlético Mineiro manager Sampaoli when Ntcham takes to the pitch.” The article went on to say that Sampaoli was “on the verge of a stroke every time the ball went towards Ntcham’s feet,” due to “the former France Under 21 international’s inability to seemingly understand what was asked of him.”