Our view: A move away from Celtic might be best for Olivier Ntcham's career

Olivier Ntcham of Celtic arrives ahead of  the Scottish Premier League match between Hibernian and Celtic at Easter Road on 28 September, 2019 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The midfielder can't seem to break into the Celtic team ahead of Scott Brown or Callum McGregor.

Olivier Ntcham of Celtic arrives ahead of  the Scottish Premier League match between Hibernian and Celtic at Easter Road on 28 September, 2019 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

There was a bit of outcry when it emerged that Olivier Ntcham told French media he would like to make a move away from Celtic.

The quotes, carried by L'Equipe in July, suggested he'd been disappointed not to win a move to Porto the year prior and was interested in a switch to Marseille.

He also lamented the quality of football in the Scottish Premiership, feeling he'd be better served playing against more illustrious opposition.

The comments left Neil Lennon unhappy (The Scottish Sun), with the Celtic boss later holding clear the air talks on the player's return from international duty.

As we approach the January transfer window though, could the Hoops really have many complaints if he looked to play elsewhere?

Signed with high hopes for a reported £4.5m fee in 2017 (BBC Scotland), it now appears his current career at Celtic Park has plateaued.

 

Lennon isn't using him as a key man anyway

So far this season Ntcham has made just seven starts for Celtic. Two of those came in Champions League qualifiers and the other in the Scottish League Cup.

Since the transfer window closed he's been far from a regular in Lennon's starting eleven, despite performing well from the bench.

When he has been used, it's been in an alternative Celtic set-up too, with Ryan Christie usually shunted wide and James Forrest deployed on the left flank.

Not the ideal conditions to make an impact.

Lennon may talk up his ability (The Scottish Sun), but his use of Ntcham has been a bit bizarre considering he's played the majority of games in his career not as number ten, but as part of a midfield two.

Olivier Ntcham of Celtic reacts during the Betfred Scottish League Cup quarter final match between Celtic and Partick Thistle at Celtic Park on September 25, 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Brown and McGregor problems

Breaking the partnership of Scott Brown and Callum McGregor in deeper midfield positions has been almost impossible for the player since Lennon came into the club in February.

The Celtic boss has good reason to turn to his club captain and the impressive McGregor. Over the last few years they've been incredibly consistent for the Hoops.

Ntcham however has too much natural ability to sit on the bench and even when he looks like an obvious solution in the middle of the park he's finding himself on the outside more often than not.

He wasn't trusted to start away to Livingston recently for example, despite a gruelling European encounter against Cluj taking their toll on Brown and McGregor just days earlier.

Olivier Ntcham of Celtic scores his team's fourth goal during the Betfred Scottish League Cup quarter final match between Celtic and Partick Thistle at Celtic Park on September 25, 2019 in...

Would Celtic be keen to sell him?

A report from French newspaper La Provence reported late last month that representatives of Celtic had tried to actually broker a deal with Marseille for the player in January.

The paper believes that Celtic were looking for a fee between €10m and €12m for his services.

If that's true, and taking into consideration his lack of football, it would be no surprise to see Ntcham seek a move away again when the transfer window re-opens in 2020.

Right now he seems to have his head down and is undoubtedly focused on Celtic. However, the player could hardly be blamed for considering the option, despite the outcry the last time he made his feelings known.

For all parties, with Celtic making a significant profit and Ntcham finding a more suitable playing home, it might be best if it's pursued in January.

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