Newcastle target free agent midfield reject as alternative to Joe Willock
Newcastle United are reportedly set to rekindle their interest in Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham who may be available on a free transfer this summer.
Ntcham, 25, has been with the Hoops since the summer of 2017, penning a four-year deal at Celtic Park. That was extended a year later and he was under contract with the Glasgow giants until 2022. However, having fallen down the Bhoys pecking order he was loaned to French club Marseille in the winter window.
That move prompted L’OM manager Andre Villas-Boas to tender his resignation as he did not want the player. Marseille responded by sacking the Portuguese coach and Ntcham had little involvement with the team.
He made only two Ligue 1 starts from four appearances and is set to return to Celtic. However, despite having one year left, it has been suggested Celtic will terminate his deal and let him leave for free.
That is certain to alert many clubs and the Magpies have been linked in the past. Football Insider are reporting that Steve Bruce is a fan of the former France Under-21 ace.
The boss will be busy with his summer recruitment plans as he looks to build on a surprisingly successful campaign for the Tynesiders. They managed to finish 12th despite flirting with relegation for a large part of the season.
Central midfielders appear to be high on the wish-list and a free agent will certainly appeal.
Ntcham an alternative to Willock
Joe Willock was sensational after arriving on loan from Arsenal in January. The 22-year-old scored eight goals from 14 top-flight appearances and helped the north-east outfit climb away from the bottom three.
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Bruce has made no secret of the fact he would love the Gunner to stay at St James’ Park but finances might prevent the transfer. Therefore a move for Ntcham makes sense as there would be no transfer fee involved.
The former Genoa loan man – once on the books at Manchester City – has proved himself in the Scottish Premiership. He made 87 league appearances north of the border, scoring 13 goals before a shock fall from grace this term.
But Celtic’s loss could be Newcastle’s gain as he still has his best years as a professional ahead of him. Other clubs may enter the picture with Southampton and West Brom linked back in September last year.
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