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Celtic's Ntcham: I want Marseille move because Scottish football level 'is not high'

15:09 GMT+3 06/07/2019
Olivier Ntcham - cropped
The Scottish champions face a fight to keep the €15m-rated French midfielder amid interest from the Ligue 1 club

Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham has revealed he wants to leave the club for Marseille as he doesn't believe he can progress playing in the Scottish Premiership.

The league champions rebuffed interest from Porto before the start of last season, however it appears their resolve will once again be tested after the 23-year-old outlined his desire to leave Scotland in search of a fresh challenge.

The former Manchester City man has named France, Germany and Spain as potential destinations following two seasons in Glasgow.

Marseille appear to be frontrunners for his signature, with Ligue 1 rivals Lyon also understood to be in the running for his signature.

“Celtic have given me a lot, but it's the best solution for my development,” Ntcham told L'Equipe.

“We can play as many matches as we want but, with all due respect for my team-mates, if the level of opposition is not high, you do not develop.”

The ex-Genoa loanee also revealed he was left frustrated when Portuguese giants Porto failed to secure his services last summer.

But 12 months on, he admits the prospect of a move to the Mediterranean coast is an enticing one. 

“I was disappointed I didn't go to Porto last summer,” says Ntcham.

“The interest of Marseille is flattering. It is a very big club with very big support. If I went to Marseille I would blossom.”

According to reports, Marseille have been told they will have to pay upwards of €15 million (£13.5m/$17m) for the France Under-21 international.

Ntcham joined the Scottish champions in 2017 having failed to make a single senior appearance at Manchester City, and boasts eight goals in 49 top-flight appearances in green and white.

During his successful loan spell in Italy, between 2015 and 2017, the Paris-born star racked up 41 appearances in all competitions and scored three times for Genoa.

However, when the Italians failed to trigger their option to buy, Celtic swooped in to sign the former Le Havre youth player for just £4.5m.

Ntcham went on to commit his future to the club as recently as November last year, signing a new contract that tied him to the Hoops until 2022.