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July 2021

This summer’s signings: Jules (Olivier) Ntcham.

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By Tony Attwood

Just one thing before I begin – I am going to confess I am confused over this player’s first name.  I have seen both Jules and Olivier written down in reports – so throughout the piece I am sticking to his surname.

Ntcham is a midfielder and captain of the France Under-16s.  He plays for Le Havre but has seemingly not signed a professional contract – although he became 16, and thus eligible to sign in February.  If that is right he is available for a modest compensation fee, rather than a transfer fee.

But, Le Havre have a history of making life difficult in matters like this.  Although only a second division club they don’t mind throwing their weight around, as  when they took on Man U, and reported them for approaching teenager Paul Pogba in 2009.

 The player is supposed to be like Desailly, Diaby and Vieira rolled into one and Inter are said to be very keen.  So are Man City – but then if a lump of grass blows in the breeze Man City send their scouts out to watch it and fax in reports.

But just as Arsenal have all their French stars and of course Mr Wenger who now has god-like status in France, Manchester City have executive Patrick Vieira and given his status in France he might well be on the case.

Meanwhile in France itself Ntcham is seen to be of huge importance to the future of French football – which could also mean that oil money fuelled PSG could go for him.

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The player’s history is interesting, for unusually he did not come through the amazingly productive Clairefontaine academy but played for several small teams ending up with amateur club Paris FC whose youth system is widely known in France, before moving into the league.

What the case of Ntcham has highlighted is that Man City are facing a similar problem to Chelsea – and that is that despite all the money at the top level they have not found how to create clone players to come up through the youth system.  On this front Arsenal still reign supreme, and it is part (although I admit only part) of the reason why Arsenal are profitable and Chelsea, Man C and PSG are utterly dependent on benefactors and Uefa finding a way around its own rules in the years to come.

Ntcham looks older than 16, is something like six feet tall, and already has a physical presence on the pitch – which is part of his secret of turning defensive positions into attacks.
No one seems to know what will happen to this player next – there is talk of him staying where he is, going to Man C, Arsenal, Italy…  It really does seem that no one knows anything save the fact that they want to sign him.

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6 comments to This summer’s signings: Jules (Olivier) Ntcham.

  • zdzis

    According to, his name is Jules Oivier Ntcham, and he’s 5’11 🙂

  • Ben

    It will be a good addition to buy him I feel and Take Kubo from Barcelona 🙂

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Every time I read these articles I remember when we were linked to a 16 year old wonderkid by the name of Otubi Agunnah…

  • nadir

    Bonjour ,jules Olivier Ntcham est un très grand joueur de la trempe de drogba ,éto ,etc..Je le connais personellement quand il était a Montréal a l’école enfant-soleil avec Hamza mon fils,ils jouaient ensemble ,Olivier avait vraiment quelque chose de particulier ,bonne technique et bon gabari malgrés son jeune age ( il avait 10 ou 11 ans et il jouait déja avec des 16 et 18 ans c’etait vraiment impressionnant),ce n’est pas une surprise s’il obtient une place avec l’inter ,plus tard vous allez le bien connaitre ,a bon entendeur salut ,Nadir de Montréal.

  • Bonjour Nadir, merci bien pour votre commentaire. Je viens de prendre un examen en francais aujourd’hui alors… 😛

    To translate Nadir’s comment for the non-francophones:

    “Hello, Jules Ntcham is a great player made of stern stuff like Drogba, Eto etc. I knew him personally when he was at ? (I think nursery/kindergarten) with hamza my son, they played together. Olivier really had something special, good technique and size despite his young age (he was ten or 11 and he played with sixteen to eighteen year olds, it was really impressive). It’s not a surprise that he’s got a place at Inter, later you’ll know him well!”

    Merci Nadir de Montreal 🙂

  • WalterBroeckx

    Bonne chance demain, Phil 🙂