Swansea City completed the signing of midfielder Olivier Ntcham on Tuesday morning, as the 25-year-old Frenchman become the Club’s ninth signing of the summer after putting pen to paper on a three-year contract.
Ntcham will certainly add experience and quality to Russell Martin’s options in the middle of the park, having gained Champions League during his time with Celtic.
The French midfielder was released from Celtic by mutual consent on August 1st, having failed to convince Marseille to buy him after a loan spell in France during the 2020-2021 season.
Ntcham had been linked with a move to Greek side AEK Athens, but wasn’t able to agree terms on a contract with the club, amid interest from Polish club Legia Warsaw.
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that the Frenchman then decided to join the Swans, having been offered the chance by former Rangers director of football and current Swans’ sporting director Mark Allen to revive his career at the Swansea dot com stadium.
Ntcham worked with Allen at the Manchester City academy, whom he joined as a 16 year old. During his time in Manchester, Ntcham spent two season on-loan at Italian side Genoa, where he made 40 Serie A appearances.
A Celtic star
Ironically, former Swans manager Brendan Rodgers then bought the highly-rated French midfielder in the summer of 2017 to boost his treble winning squad.
Such was the Frenchman’s impact at Parkhead during his debut season, Portuguese giants Porto offered the Scottish club £13million for his services, which was duly turned down by the Bhoys.
He went on to win eight trophies in three seasons under Rodgers and his successor Neil Lennon, made up of three Scottish Premiership titles, two Scottish Cup and two Scottish League Cups.
During his time at Celtic, Ntcham made 146 appearances, scoring 24 goals and gaining considerable European experience in the Champions League and Europa League.
A nightmare in Marseille
However, whilst his initial time at Celtic was deemed a success, his recent loan spell at Marseille was anything but.
Ntcham joined the Ligue One side on-loan in February 2020, with an option-to-buy at the end at the spell.
However, with then manager Andre Villas-Boas reportedly resigning due to a disagreement over the Ntcham deal, and only making 4 starts for Marseille during his loan spell, it quickly became clear that it wasn’t going to be a successful return to his homeland and he duly returned to Scotland.
The 5ft 10″ Frenchman received little sympathy from Bhoy fans however, with many questioning his attitude.
Time to shine in Swansea?
Whilst there is no doubting Ntcham’s ability, based on his time at Celtic and the footage of him playing, it remains to be seen whether or not he can regain the hunger to play at the top level that he showed under Brendan Rodgers.
Clearly he is a creative midfielder, which the Swans have been crying out for over the past two season and even more so now given the style of football Russell Martin wants the Swans to play.
On the basis of the footage, the Frenchman shows that he can certainly play that style and is a very technical footballer.
Let’s hope then that given a few weeks to settle at the club, whilst building up his return to full match fitness, we will start to reap the rewards of his signing.