Pundit View: McNamara suggests Ntcham can play squad role at Celtic next season

Former Celtic captain Jackie McNamara reckons Olivier Ntcham could be a useful presence in the Hoops squad next season, despite transfer interest in the player, as reported by Football Insider.

What’s he said?

Ntcham found himself struggling to make as many starts as other midfielders at the Hoops last season with the emergence of Ryan Christie keeping him out of the team for long spells.

The Daily Record reported late last month that Marseille were keen on adding him to their squad, with France Football later reporting the Hoops’ asking price was as high as €17m (£15.13m).

McNamara was asked about the club receiving that kind of fee, noting that if Celtic want to maintain success then Neil Lennon will need a deep squad.

Keith from C’mon the Hoops throws back to player who was both a Hoop by name and by nature in the video below…

As quoted by Football Insider, the former full-back said:

“He’s linked with that before, they must think they’ll get that for him, with his age and everything else. It remains to be seen if they get that, recoup that money for him.

“He’s not played but you can only play 11 players. As backup, you’ve seen with injuries and different things over the season, Neil will need a squad for the season ahead. He’s not just going to use the 11 players that start every week.

“Between the qualifiers for the Champions League and the cup competitions they’ll be playing as well as the league, he’ll need a decent squad going ahead this season.”

Spot on from McNamara

It’s true that Ntcham is a very effective squad option and undoubtedly has the kind of quality Celtic need to compete domestically and in Europe next season.

Although there’s potentially big money on offer for him this summer, the Hoops shouldn’t be looking to weaken the squad in any way ahead of next season – McNamara is absolutely right that the Celtic team needs considerable depth.

Unless there’s a ready made replacement set to come in, the argument for keeping the Frenchman is strong, even if he isn’t quite as consistent as some supporters would like and even if he doesn’t start every game.

Celtic’s transfer priority also revolves around selling players at their peak value. Ntcham still has room for improvement at the club and if Neil Lennon can get him playing well next term he could be worth even more next summer.

That’s something to keep in mind for the club over the next few months.