Celtic recruitment chief Nicky Hammond made it clear to Olivier Ntcham’s camp his hopes of engineering a mid-season exit will be denied, Football Insider can reveal.
The midfielder’s future has been up in the air for some time since he lost his regular starting role and went public with his frustration at Scottish football.
Football Insider broke the news yesterday that Celtic will block the Ntcham, 23, from quitting in the January window amid interest from leading European clubs.
A Celtic source has provided further insight to Football Insider of the meeting between director of football Hammond and Ntcham’s representatives last week that any transfer will have to wait until the summer.
Hammond laid down the law to the Frenchman’s camp to prevent any attempts at engineering a January exit for a player valued at more than £10million by the Scottish champions.
Ntcham has been in and out of Neil Lennon’s starting XI this season but his magnificent recent goal against Lazio that sealed a memorable win and progress to the Europa League knockout stages further raised his profile across the Continent.
Lennon regards the 2017 signing from Manchester City as a stellar talent, even if he lacks the discipline for the central midfield role in which he was used during his first Celtic campaign.
Ntcham has started only six of Celtic’s SPL matches this season, most in a central playmaking role, and has completed 90 minutes only once in the campaign.
But the Celtic hierarchy regard him as a key player in their title bid and European campaign as well as their pursuit of a third consecutive domestic treble.