The news today that Southampton want Olivier Ntcham so much that they are willing to let us have Fraser Forster if he’s part of the deal is the moment when we should walk away from trying to sign the big keeper, and look at other targets.
Ntcham is not everyone’s favourite player at times, but since he and Lennon came to an understanding last season he has turned in some of his best displays in a Celtic shirt. I think he’s one of the finest midfield players in Britain when he’s performing well, and at his age he’s only going to get better.
With Brown having only a couple more seasons in him a midfield pairing of Ollie and Callum McGregor is the one I’d like us to have going forward.
It may be impossible, of course. The player might want to go.
If he does, then we’ve got a much simpler decision to make.
But even last season, when he and the manager had their falling out, the issue wasn’t that he wanted to leave but that he appeared to have disrespected Celtic in an interview, by referring to us as a stepping stone … Lennon didn’t appreciate that.
We’re facing one Hell of a season.
The news that “some” clubs – and we, of course will be one of them – might have to play as many as four games in eight days at times should demonstrate how chaotic it is likely to be, and how the need for a powerful squad will be greater than ever.
Ntcham is crucial to that kind of campaign. We should do all we can to keep him.
Now, of course we need to sort something out between the sticks.
That’s not even up for debate.
If we move on from big Fraser we need to secure the services of someone else in that positon, and someone good at that. Joe Hart was linked with us; if he can be convinced to take the momentous wage cut that would be necessary he’d be more than adequate.
A good goalkeeper can make a major difference to a team; we know this already.
How many games was big Fraser instrumental in last season?
But I could say the same about Ntcham and we have other options in the goalkeeper position.
Replacing Ollie would be a much more difficult endeavour and so he’s the player I’d hang onto.
Southampton have some balls trying to pull this anyway.
Like a lot of EPL clubs they have massively over-extended in the transfer market and now have a B side filled with expensive players on major salaries.
We are after not just Forster but Elyounoussi as well … but if they want to play funny buggers and start making demands like this we should walk and leave them with some of these guys still on the wage bill. If there really was all this interest in the players they’d already have sold them or sent them elsewhere.
We can afford to focus on guys like Hart and Ryan Fraser … and rather than wait around or get messed about, we should do just that.
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