Why West Ham should reignite their interest in Olivier Ntcham
Nothing came of those rumours before the international deadline in October but it wasn’t the first time that the Hammers had been linked with a move for the Frenchman. David Moyes’ side were believed to be in advanced negotiations with the 24-year-old back in January, only for them to turn their attention to other targets.
Olivier Ntcham featured for the likes of Paris FC and Le Havre AC at the youth level in his homeland before joining Man City’s academy in the summer of 2012. Ntcham made 46 appearances for the Citizens at the U-23 level and also impressed in the UEFA Youth League but was unable to make a first-team breakthrough.
He was sent out on a two-season loan deal to Italian top-flight outfit Genoa, where he made 41 appearances between 2015 and 2017. Ntcham was snapped up by Celtic on a permanent deal in the summer of 2017 and has since established himself as a key squad player at Parkhead, accumulating an impressive tally of 23 goals and 13 assists in 136 appearances.
Ntcham would add more depth to West Ham’s midfield
West Ham had been left frustrated in their attempts to get deals over the line for several of their top targets earlier in the summer, with right-back Vladimir Coufal coming through the door as the only new addition to the squad before the international deadline.
The Hammers, though, made amends and utilised the extended period for domestic transfers to full effect. Craig Dawson was roped in on a season-long loan deal from Watford to ease the defensive woes before David Moyes’ side grabbed the headlines with a blockbuster loan move for in-demand winger Said Benrahma on the domestic deadline day.
Those new arrivals are expected to bring a lot of relief to the fans, as well as the management, but West Ham still have issues to sort out when the transfer window reopens in January. While a permanent solution at centre-back and a new striker should be high on the club’s agenda, Moyes also needs to think about reshaping his midfield.
Tomas Soucek and Declan Rice have firmly established themselves as West Ham’s first-choice central midfield pairing, with veteran duo Mark Noble and Robert Snodgrass providing cover and competition for the regular starters. However, West Ham ideally need some younger options in that department moving forward given that both Noble and Snodgrass are nearing their twilight at 33.
With Carlos Sanchez and Jack Wilshere no longer in the squad, West Ham should make a renewed attempt to sign Olivier Ntcham in the upcoming transfer window. The Frenchman has caught the eye with his versatility to play in attacking, box-to-box, holding, and wide roles in the midfield during his time at Celtic.
That coupled with his ability to score goals and make assists should make him a useful asset to West Ham’s midfield. In fact, Ntcham not only fits the bill as cover and competition for Rice and Soucek but he is also more than capable of playing in a No.10 role further up the pitch.
Therefore, his presence in the ranks would offer Moyes with a quality alternative to Manuel Lanzini and Pablo Fornals, neither of whom has managed to achieve the desired level of consistency in the Premier League over the past 12 months.
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Besides his impressive record in the Scottish Premiership, Olivier Ntcham provided a timely reminder of his qualities with an injury-time winner away at Lazio in the group stages of the Europa League last year. Hence, it’s quite clear that he’s got the potential to make the step up to a more competitive league.
The former French U-21 international still has his best years ahead of him and West Ham should test Celtic’s resolve with a handsome bid for the versatile midfielder in January.