Celtic’s elimination from the Champions League soured the mood at Celtic Park recently and the potential departure of Moussa Dembele could further contribute to an atmosphere of growing frustration at the club.
The Hoops’ struggle in Europe has been a consistent feature of the past half-decade and their failure to make an impact on the continent continued against AEK Athens in the 3rd qualifying round as they were dumped out of the competition before the group stages.
After expressing such imperious domination in the SPFL, the next step in Celtic’s development has focused heavily on their European performance so naturally it was a huge disappointment when they were dumped out by the Greek outfit.
Celtic took a step towards redemption on Thursday night as they ran out 3-0 winners against FK Suduva, sealing their place in the group stages of the Europa League in the process.
But the Dembele saga which has emerged in the past 48 hours has served to restore a sense of frustration at the club, although a recent report from the Evening Times suggests there could be some good news on the horizon for the club.
Indeed, the report claims that Celtic are working on a new deal for Olivier Ntcham (valued at £4.5 million by Transfermarkt) following his impressive opening to life in Scotland.
To label him as a lynchpin at this moment in time would exaggerate his importance, but he has demonstrated the potential to blossom into an indispensable talent in the future with his commanding performances from central midfield.
Ntcham is something of a rare breed in the sense that he can legimitately label himself as a box-to-box midfielder during a football era when specialisation of positioning is becoming increasingly important.
The 22-year-old’s ability to sit deep in midfield, dictate proceedings, break up play in front of the back four, carry the ball forward and provide a touch of class in the final-third enable him to influence the game at both ends of the field.
With interest in Celtic’s star players beginning to intensify across Europe it’s vital that the club react to events by tying down some of their most sought-after players to new deals, even if only to increase their transfer value.
Ntcham’s growing influence at the club is only likely to increase this season so the club’s move to agree fresh terms over a new contract is certainly a shrewd move to make, particularly in the context of their poor summer.
Celtic fans – thoughts? Let us know below!