Neil Lennon is not a man you want to annoy. But the Celtic boss’s fearsome reputation still didn’t make Olivier Ntcham think twice about taking aim at the quality of Scottish football while making clear his desire to leave the Premiership champions.
"If the level in front is not high, you do not progress. What could be the perfect stage for me? A big championship: Germany, France, Spain - coming back to France would be something very, very good," the French U21 ace told L'Equipe.
"The interest of the Marseille? It is flattering.”
Never mind flattering, it could be good news for Wolverhampton Wanderers, too.
The Scottish Sun claimed recently that new Marseille coach Andre Villas-Boas wants to lure Ntcham back across the Channel with Celtic seemingly willing to cash in on a player who looked a shadow of his former self last season. He’s available for £15 million, according to France Football.
And this is where Wolves come in.
Blessed with an excellent passing range and the ability to dictate the tempo of a game, Ntcham looks every inch like Morgan Sanson’s replacement at the Stade Velodrome. Marseille need to sell some of their star players to avoid Financial Fair Play sanctions and they’d likely earn a big profit for Sanson, who was the subject of a £36 million club-record bid from Wolves recently (Le10 Sport).
Sky, just a few weeks ago, backed up the claims that Molineux was a potential destination.
Ntcham’s arrival, coupled with Sanson’s sale, would see Marseille bring in more than £20 million, plus an immediate replacement for one of their star men. It would also see Celtic earn a substantial windfall for a problem player, while adding a real quality in depth to Wolves’ midfield.
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