Celtic made a major statement of intent when they signed Olivier Ntcham from Manchester City in the summer – and not just because, at £4 million, the Frenchman became the Scottish champions most expensive addition in a decade, per the Scottish Sun.
Ntcham was one of the most reputable youngsters in City’s esteemed academy system, he had captained France at youth level and, just to make the energetic midfielder even more promising, had proven himself in Serie A during an impressive two-season loan spell at Genoa.
Three months into Ntcham’s burgeoning Celtic career, however, and the reviews have been, let’s say, ‘mixed’ so far. The France Under-21 star has shown some moments of real quality, his long-range matchwinner against Dundee on Saturday a demonstration of his ability to change a game in the blinking of an eye.
Yet, the majority of Celtic supporters are yet to be fully convinced. And Ntcham’s dismal performance in the 3-0 Champions League humbling at Bayern Munich on Wednesday, for which he was slaughtered by fans on social media, was the latest in a string of below-par displays.
Failed to make the grade
Perhaps, them, Celtic are seeing why Manchester City were willing to let Ntcham go this summer – albeit for a relatively high fee. Perhaps they are seeing why the youngster was never trusted to make his first-team debut for the Premier League giants.
As it stands, Ntcham has a long way to go before he can prove himself as a standout player in Scotland. On current form, there’s no way he would have made the grade at Manchester City.
Ntcham is still young of course and has plenty of time to fulfil his potential. Though he has to start performing, and fast, otherwise that £4 million price tag may start to weigh him down.