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NTCHAM ‘NEEDED A NEW CHALLENGE’

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CHRISTOPHER JULLIEN has revealed his fellow-Frenchman Olivier Ntcham “needed a new challenge” before his deadline day loan switch to Marseille.

The 25-year-old midfielder rarely featured for Celtic in a crucial season and had been overlooked for first-team squads prior to his return to his homeland.

Jullien, who is likely to miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury after a collision with a post in the 3-0 win over Dundee United just before the turn of the year, also reckoned Ntcham was “starting to stagnate” at Parkhead.

The powerhouse, whose temporary arrival created a storm at the French club with head coach Andre Villas-Boas offering his reisgnation before being sacked, made his debut in the French Cup victory over Auxerre in midweek.

Central defender Jullien, who cost the Hoops £7million from Toulouse in the summer of 2019, told French media outlet La Provence: “Olivier had taken a step forward in Glasgow, but he was starting to stagnate because he remains in Scotland.

“He needed a new challenge. I see him succeeding at OM, he has everything he needs to achieve this.

“This stage will be able to make him grow even more. He has always had the qualities to aim for a major championship like Ligue 1.”

Ntcham, who was bought by Brendan Rodgers for £4.5million from Manchester City in June 2017, is out of contract at the end of next season and has almost certainly kicked his last ball for the club.

The Hoops will accept something in the region of what they originally paid for the middle of the park operator to get him off the books.

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