Celtic keeping hold of their influential 23-year-old star is a no-brainer amidst Serie A interest

Why Celtic should keep hold of Olivier Ntcham amidst interest

According to Tuttomercatoweb (h/t The Daily Record), Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham has emerged as a target for AS Roma, Valencia and Sporting Lisbon.

Olivier Ntcham, 23, was linked with an exit from Celtic in the summer, with the midfielder himself telling the Record that he could end up moving on. However, nothing materialised and he has since stayed put at Parkhead.

The Frenchman was a standout performer during his first season in Glasgow but struggled mightily during the 2018/19 campaign. And the former Manchester City graduate has found his opportunities limited under Neil Lennon this season. Ntcham, who is under contract with the Premiership champions until 2022, has made just one start since the end of September.

Celtic's Olivier Ntcham fights for the ball. (Getty Images)
Celtic’s Olivier Ntcham fights for the ball. (Getty Images)

Regardless of that, Celtic must do everything in their powers to keep hold of the 23-year-old midfielder in January.

Scott Brown and Callum McGregor have been Lennon’s first-choice central midfielders this season. Brown and McGregor have forged a strong partnership in the middle of the park, meaning Ntcham has found it difficult to break into the starting XI.

Ntcham has started five games in the Premiership so far this season, and he has widely been used as a substitute. Interestingly, Lennon has majorly used the Frenchman in an advanced role and he has repaid the manager’s faith too.

The 23-year-old’s last gasp strike against Lazio sealed Celtic’s spot in the next round of the Europa League, with the midfielder showing his quality with a calm and composed finish at Stadio Olimpico.

Neil Lennon is doing well in his second spell as Celtic manager. (Getty Images)
Neil Lennon is doing well in his second spell as Celtic manager. (Getty Images)

Lennon isn’t exactly blessed with options in midfield and even though Ntcham has majorly been used as a substitute this campaign, there is no doubt that he is a major asset to the Hoops. Brown and McGregor are going strong in the middle of the park at the moment and Ntcham needs to be patient.

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Injuries and suspensions are a part and parcel of the game, and with games expected to come thick and fast from December, the 23-year-old will certainly get more opportunities to start.

Verdict

Experience and squad depth are the two most important aspects every team needs to win trophies. Even at the age of 23, Ntcham is a senior, experienced professional, whose qualities will almost certainly come to use at various stages of Celtic’s season. Thus, it’s an absolute no-brainer for Lennon and co. to keep hold of the Frenchman.

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Written by Rohan Sengupta

Hi, I am Rohan Sengupta from one of the busiest cities in India, Mumbai. A Journalism graduate with a keen interest in sports, football is something I simply cannot live without and writing, discussing and analyzing the game is what I do 24*7.
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