Celtic appear to have activated a one-year extension in the contract of Olivier Ntcham, per The Scottish Sun, after he joined Ange Postecoglou’s pre-season training camp in Wales.
Ntcham was set for a future away from Parkhead this summer with the Hoops expected to release him. The Frenchman also entertained talks with AEK Athens over a move to the Greek Super League, but the deal fell through over claims Celtic were holding out for a fee.
AEK Athens were pushing strongly to seal a deal for Ntcham should he leave Celtic on a free, according to the Daily Record. The Hoops also sought to offload him in January when he joined Marseille on loan. But the Ligue 1 outfit elected against using their option to buy.
His move to Greece collapsing seemed to be just a setback in Ntcham’s route out of Celtic, though. The 25-year-old was made to train alone throughout last week as players started to return to Glasgow for pre-season preparations.
But in a surprising twist, The Scottish Sun claim Celtic are now looking to keep Ntcham after taking up a one-year option on his contract. He also travelled with Postecoglou and the first-team to Wales, where the Hoops will play three pre-season friendlies this summer.
It would seem as if Postecoglou is prepared to give Ntcham a chance to save his Celtic career, then. The 55-year-old’s plans will also dent Newcastle United’s hopes of a transfer, after The Athletic reported Steve Bruce’s side remain keen on the midfielder.
Ntcham must seize Celtic chance under Postecoglou
Postecoglou has given Ntcham a chance to save his Celtic future by including the £14,000-per-week midfielder in his pre-season plans. The Frenchman must seize the opportunity if he wants to remain at Parkhead next season, though, as the exit door will likely stay open.
Ntcham only featured 14 times, starting seven, in the Premiership last term before joining Marseille in January. He also offered just one goal and one assist in those appearances and failed to offer any creativity in France.
It was a nightmare stint at the Stade Velodrome, having played just four Ligue 1 games for 118 minutes. Postecoglou would have no issue saying goodbye if Ntcham cannot now turn his Celtic career around. The Hoops, for one, know what talent he can show on his day.
“Ntcham was unbelievable,” former Celtic boss Neil Lennon once raved effusively, via The Scottish Sun. “To give him the captaincy and then for him to take on the responsibility the way he did was excellent. I thought his all-round game tonight was absolutely top class.”