For all the issues that surrounded the loan of Celtic’s Olivier Ntcham to Marseille, the arrival of Jorge Sampaoli could have been the start of a new era for the midfielder.
Unable to play in the first game against Rennes, the former France U21 international was selected to start in the subsequent fixture against OGC Nice, which saw the Ligue 1 side get dismantled 3-0 by their local rivals.
Not only that, but Ntcham was taken off at half-time by the Argentine manager, making it three starts, three losses and three substitutions after 45 minutes in the last three games he’s featured in.
As Foot Mercato point out in an article on Wednesday, it doesn’t have anything to do with the player’s attitude, but simply a lack of fitness, likely stemming from his reduced game time at Parkhead before his move to the south of France.
With a permanent transfer riding on this, as Marseille have a €5-6m purchase clause included in the deal with Celtic, it’s not the best of starts, and the French website make it clear: ‘nothing guarantees’ that it will be triggered come the end of the campaign.