Newcastle-linked Olivier Ntcham is nearing a move to Olympique de Marseille.
According to RMC Sport, via GFFN (1/2, 13:50), Marseille have reached a total agreement with Celtic for the temporary transfer of Ntcham.
The 24-year-old will move to the Orange Velodrome on an initial six-month deal that carries a €5m (£4.5m) option to purchase him at the end of the season.
Ntcham is due to fly into France early on Monday evening to carry out his medical and sign his contract with Andreas Villas-Boas’ Ligue 1 outfit, who sit ninth in the French top-flight standings after a run of three straight defeats.
It was thought that United chiefs had made contact with Celtic to sound out the former France U21 international’s availability for a half-season loan, as Steve Bruce eyed midfield reinforcements before pursuing a deal for Arsenal product Joe Willock.
Newcastle failing to seal a deal for Ntcham will go down as a blunder as United should have moved heaven and earth to see the three-time Premiership champion arrive at St. James’ Park in the winter market.
While Ntcham has only started 12 of his 23 appearances for the Hoops across all competitions this season, for a total of 1,078 minutes on the field, he has continued to be in amongst the goals having scored once and assisted twice.
Neil Lennon stands to lose a driven individual in Ntcham’s move to Marseille, too, as the 24-year-old has the ability to surge play up the field, having achieved an average of 0.8 successful dribbles a game in the Premiership this term, helping the Hoops star to record 0.6 shots and create 0.6 goal-scoring opportunities, per SofaScore.
Those efforts follow an eight-goal, four-assist campaign across all competitions last term, including a stoppage-time winner away to Serie A side SS Lazio in the Europa League, despite Ntcham not entering the action until the closing stages.
Few of Newcastle’s central midfielders offer such an influential presence in the Premier League, with only Jonjo Shelvey (1.15) and Miguel Almiron (0.89) more comfortable running with the ball at their feet than Ntcham.
Shelvey (1.46) and Almiron (1.05) again are the only ones to create more chances for a teammate to score per game.
So, as Ntcham looks set to join Marseille, Bruce can only rue the inability to seal a deal for the Celtic midfielder to head to Tyneside before Monday night’s deadline.