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Celtic’s Olivier Ntcham completes his Marseille loan


French Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham completed a loan back to his homeland with Marseille.

The short-term deal includes an option to buy at the end of the season for as little as £ 4.4million, according to earlier reports in France.

Ntcham performed a medical examination on Monday afternoon, before the deal was officially confirmed in the evening.

Ntcham had yet to appear for the Hoops in 2021, having fallen in the pecking order behind youngster David Turnbull and Ismaila Soro, and reports suggest he asked to leave the club in January.

The 24-year-old joined the Glasgow club from Manchester City in 2017 but fitness and form issues led to a four-year inconsistent stint at Celtic Park in which he scored 24 goals in 147 appearances, with 13 others.

There have been times he has shown real promise – in his heyday, he scored a famous game-winner against Lazio at Stadio Olimpico – but he passed out in and out of the squad this season, and his time at Celtic is probably up.

Ntcham celebrates his famous strike at Lazio | TIZIANA FABI / Getty Images

The supposed low fees in the call option – which are lower than what Celtic actually paid for City’s Ntcham – suggests Neil Lennon is ready to cut his losses on the Frenchman, whose contract will expire in the summer of 2022 .

90 mins revealed in August that there was great interest in him from the Premier League, and although that has faded due to his form in Scotland, he has survived to some extent – on Sunday Sky Sports reported that Newcastle had clearly expressed his interest.

However, Ntcham opted to move to the south of France, while Newcastle instead loaned Arsenal’s Joe Willock until the end of the 2020/21 campaign.

Earlier on deadline day, Celtic confirmed their one and only signing in January with the arrival of right-back Jonjoe Kenny on loan from Everton, the 23-year-old having signed as a replacement for Jeremie Frimpong.

Another former Man City player, the 20-year-old joined Bundesliga’s Bayer Leverkusen earlier in the window, much to Lennon’s dismay. Celtic remain 23 points behind Rangers in the Scottish Premiership in what has been a scorching season on all fronts for the Bhoys.