By Alex McLeish

27th Dec, 2020 | 12:00pm

Pundit Exclusive: Celtic 24-yr-old 'will be hurting' at potential role in part-exchange deal

Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham will be gutted if he is shipped out of Parkhead to balance the books, says Alex McLeish.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Rangers manager made his comments following a Scottish Sun report suggesting Ntcham will be used as a makeweight in a deal to bring Crystal Palace’s James McCarthy to the club.

Celtic’s gross revenue fell by 15.8% this year, meaning the club will be wary of making any financial misstep in the transfer market.

Ntchan signed a four-year contract in 2018 but has not been getting the playing time he would have liked – he has started just seven of Celtic’s 17 Scottish Premiership matches this campaign.

McLeish highlighted the human side of the deal for the 24-year-old French midfielder.

He told Football Insider: “Ntcham will be disappointed and I would imagine that any player in his situation, at a prestigious club that’s expected to win titles, would be.

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“He’s been involved and won a few of those titles, and he’s had good, good performances. He’ll be hurting and smarting at the fact that he’s not a regular anymore.

“I’m sure at the middle of your playing career you would want to go and continue your journey in terms of the professional game. I would say that Ntcham would be a little bit disenchanted, disillusioned if he’s not getting regular football… that’s normal.”

Whatever his emotional reaction, there would be no shame for Ntcham in being replaced by a player who has had a decade-long Premier League career with Wigan, Everton and Crystal Palace.

Eurosport, who first linked James McCarthy with a move to Glasgow earlier this week, say that the boyhood Celtic fan is aware of the interest from north of the border and keen on the move.

In other news, Celtic are ready to take advantage of a Championship starlet’s contract situation.