For Olivier Ntcham, his Celtic stay is very quickly running out of gas.
The former Manchester City man was signed under Brendan Rodgers and initially, that looked like good business. He has scored 24 times for the Hoops throughout the years and once established himself as one of the most promising box to box midfielders in Scotland.
However, in double-quick time, it has all unravelled for the Frenchman. No longer does he display the lung-busting energy we associate with Ntcham and his lack of regular minutes this season suggest that he could soon be out the exit door.
The 24-year-old hasn’t started since the end of November and has been touted with a switch to West Brom.
That could be a welcome relief for Neil Lennon, someone who may be troubled by the player’s poor attitude this season.
Speaking earlier in the campaign about Ntcham, talkSPORT presenter Alan Brazil stated: “Ntcham, he looks as if he’s tools down and not bothered.”
Do you want Ntcham at Celtic?
Funnily enough, a player who could all but end his stay in Glasgow is in a similar situation in England.
The man in question is Preston’s Ben Pearson, another player being left out of the team because of a contract dispute. Celtic are eyeing a move for him and if they get a deal over the line, it would surely push Ntcham further down the pecking order and likely out of the Parkhead door.
After all, Pearson is a midfielder himself, and a powerful one at that.
Discussing his future over the weekend, Preston boss Alex Neil commented: “Listen, Ben would’ve been fit to be in the squad today, but we’ve signed some new lads that need to get minutes now. Ben has made it clear to us that his future doesn’t lie here come the end of the season.”
It was a damning indictment of the 26-year-old who perhaps like Ntcham, has displeased his manager.
Pearson is one of the most aggressive players around and in picking up 52 yellow cards in the last four and a half years, he is no stranger to throwing in a tackle.
By replacing their French titan with the Preston brute, they’d lose a degree of attacking urgency but importantly, they wouldn’t lose his battling and tough-tackling characteristics.
It seems like for all parties it would be best if Pearson and Ntcham left their respective clubs. Celtic, however, are likely to benefit most.
The former’s current £8.5k-per-week deal expires in the summer and consequently, Nick Hammond can agree a pre-contract with Pearson if he deems Celtic’s offer to be appropriate.
This signing would certainly be shrewd business from the Hoops hierarchy.
AND in other news, Lennon could finally axe Celtic veteran by unleashing “sensational” rarely-seen gem – opinion…