Rumours were circulating prior to last night’s 3-0 victory over St Johnstone that West Ham are in “advanced talks” to sign Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham but according to The Scottish Sun, the Parkhead side has rubbished the story.
The paper says that the news originated from France but in further confirmation that there is no substance in the claims, the 23-year-old started – and scored – in the evening’s fixture, something he would be highly unlikely to do if he was about to seal a move away from the club.
Ntcham was the subject of summer interest from both Porto and Marseille – with the player wanting a move – and this is likely to have been the reason behind his slow start to the season where his playing time was restricted, however, Neil Lennon has shifted to a 3-5-2 formation in recent games and the Frenchman has been utilised in his strongest position behind a front two.
Such has been his form that Ryan Christie had to be content with a place on the bench as he makes his way back from injury and suspension but will be pushing for a return to the starting XI with a congested fixture list in the next few weeks.
Ntcham still has two and a half years left to run on his Celtic contract and wouldn’t be cheap given that he arrived for £4.5m from Manchester City in 2017 and has improved his reputation since his arrival – particularly with his performacens in the Europa League – proving to be both technically and physically capable of dominating games from midfield.
Would you sell Olivier Ntcham given his current form?
Having added strength to his central midfield in the shape of Ismaila Soro for £2m, Lennon would be loath to lose such a natural attacking midfielder who can play in a few different formations to such good effect, he does have replacements in Ryan Christie and Tom Rogic but it would weaken his squad depth as his side remain in the hunt for an unprecedented fourth consecutive domestic treble.