Olivier Ntcham: Celtic sign midfielder from Manchester City on four-year deal

By Andy BurkeBBC Sport Scotland
Celtic: Olivier Ntcham seeks 'big fun' after Manchester City exit

Olivier Ntcham says fellow Frenchman Moussa Dembele helped convince him to make his move from Manchester City as he joined Celtic for around £4.5m.

The midfielder revealed he had spoken first to the Celtic striker before signing his four-year contract.

"Moussa told me the club was good, it was fun here," said his fellow 21-year-old, who spent the last two seasons on loan with Genoa in Serie A.

"I'm very happy to be here and it's a new challenge for me."

Ntcham never made the breakthrough into the senior side at the Etihad but did make 41 appearances during his two-year spell in Italy, 22 of them starts.

Genoa finished 11th in his first campaign in Serie A, but the Frenchman made only 10 starts as the Red and Blues ended last season in 16th place, two spots above the relegation zone.

He now hopes to mirror the success of compatriot Dembele, whose stunning debut season in Scottish football following his transfer from Fulham has led to him being linked with a move to some of European football's biggest clubs.

The France Under-21 striker was a team-mate of Ntcham's earlier in their international age-grade careers, recalling: "I was maybe 14 when we played together."

And the new arrival hopes Dembele sticks around to help him adapt to life in Scotland.

"He knows not all clubs are in the Champions League, so if you play in the Champions League, it's always good to stay," said Ntcham.

"That's why I chose to come here."

Olivier Ntcham
Ntcham has gained first-team experience in Italy's top flight with Genoa

Ntcham revealed he held talks with Celtic back in January and says a desire to play regular first-team football was a key factor in his decision to leave England's top flight and join Brendan Rodgers' squad.

"I spoke with Brendan before," he said. "In January, Celtic was already there for me when I was in Italy, so that's why I came here.

"He said to me: 'You have to play because, if you don't play, you don't improve. You have to play because in Italy you don't play a lot'.

"It wasn't a tough decision for me. It was a normal decision because at Manchester City I play three years there and sometimes it is better to leave. Football is like this sometimes."

Ntcham moved to City's youth ranks in 2012 from the Le Havre academy in his homeland and has represented France at every youth level from under-16s upwards.

Asked what kind of player Celtic fans can expect, he said: "I am a powerful player and technical as well I think."

Ntcham becomes Rodgers' third summer signing following the arrival of Jonny Hayes from Aberdeen and Kundai Benyu from Ipswich Town.

Find all the latest football transfers on our dedicated page.

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