Celtic and Marseille 'reach agreement' over Olivier Ntcham move

Robbie Copeland
Feb 1, 2021, 3:00 PM GMT
It looks as if Ntcham is on the move
It looks as if Ntcham is on the move | Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Marseille have moved to sign Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham on loan with an option to buy and look set to complete the deal before the transfer deadline, according to a report in France.

Ntcham joined Celtic from the Manchester City academy in 2017 and has blown hot and cold ever since. There have been times when he has shown genuine promise - at his peak, he scored a famous winning goal against Lazio at Stadio Olimpico - but due to fitness issues and inconsistency, he has faded in and out of the team.

His stock has rarely been lower than it is now. While fellow midfielders David Turnbull and Ismaila Soro have emerged from the cold to thrive, Ntcham hasn't appeared for Celtic in 2021, and Neil Lennon has seemingly decided he is not part of the solution to their struggles.

Lennon has scarcely called upon Ntcham
Lennon has scarcely called upon Ntcham | Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

With no return to the first team forthcoming, reports suggest the 24-year-old has expressed a desire to leave, and has been presented with a few options.

90min revealed back in August that there was extensive interest from the Premier League, and while that has faded due to his form in Scotland, it has survived to some extent - on Sunday, Sky Sports reported that Newcastle had made their interest clear.

According to RMC Sport, however, it's Ligue 1 side Marseille who look set to bring him in. In their transfer blog, they claim an agreement has reached over a six month loan with an option to buy, and he is expected to undergo a medical in France this afternoon.

They say the fee agreed is around the €5m (£4.4m) mark - marginally less than the reported £4.5m Celtic paid to sign him from City in 2017.

That would suggest the Scottish champions are keen to make a quick buck on him while they can, which makes sense, considering he will enter the final year on his contract this summer.

Ntcham has scored 24 goals and registered 13 assists in 147 appearances for Celtic, and is evidently a talented player when his head is in the game. The move will see him return to French football for the first time since he left Le Havre's academy as a 16-year-old, and he will be hoping the fresh start back home can give him the platform to rediscover his best football.