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CELTIC DILEMMA: FLOP IN RACE AGAINST TIME

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OLIVIER NTCHAM has 11 games and two-and-a-half months to persuade Marseille to make his loan arrangement permanent – or he will be heading back to Celtic.

The 25-year-old midfielder is under contract at the Hoops until June 2023 after his £4.5million switch to Parkhead in the summer of 2017.

Ntcham made it clear he had no intention of returning to Parkhead when he joined the struggling French aces in January on a temporary contract until the end of the season.

However, the player has failed to impress in his brief outings and has started only two games – and been hauled off at half-time in both of them!

Ntcham was in the line-up that took on FOURTH-TIER outfit Canet Roussillon, who come from a town with a population of just over 12,000, in the Coupe de France last night. Once again, he was removed from the action after 45 minutes as the crisis side toppled to a sensational 2-1 loss.

It is just the latest humiliation for Ntcham who hasn’t even played three hours in the top side since his arrival.

WELCOME TO MARSEILLE…Oliver Ntcham poses happily with the team jersey.

IN THE PICTURE…Olivier Ntcham is all smiles with a press photographer following January’s loan move.

He made his first start last week in the league encounter against Lille, but was withdrawn after an anonymous first-half as the team lost 2-0 to Celtic’s Europa League Group H opponents. Before his two inclusions at kick-off, he had made only two substitute appearances tallying 71 minutes.

The former Under-21 international powerhouse will be hoping to get some game-time when the team face Rennes in the league on Wednesday.

Ntcham’s side have won only one of their last 12 games – 3-2 in Ligue 1 against Nice last month – and the word in his homeland is that the club may not take up the option to sign the Hoops player, as CQN reported last week.

Celtic are hoping to match the £4.5million fee they paid to Manchester City, but that is looking increasingly unlikely as he fails to convinces.

Andre Villas-Boas offered his resignation when Ntcham arrived because he had stated he did NOT want the player. The Portuguese coach was sacked 24 hours later and Nasser Larguet has been placed in temporary charge before former Sevilla boss Jorge Sampaoli takes over following a period of self-isolation after arriving from South America.

Ntcham’s only hope of a full-time deal at Marseille will be a remarkable upsurge in form or he will be on his way back to Glasgow where it’s clear he has no future.

Marsellie’s final Ligue 1 encounter of the season is due at Metz on May 23.

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