Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers feels Efe Ambrose could resuscitate his ailing career in England.
The out-of-favour Super Eagles defender has been frozen out of the Hoops’ first team by former Liverpool boss Rodgers following a string of high-profile blunders.
Ambrose, who last played a league game for the Scottish powerhouse in their 3-2 defeat of Aberdeen at Celtic Park on May 8, was linked with a number of clubs, including German Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen, Sunderland, Swansea and Belgian club Standard Liege last summer. But the 28-year-old, whose contract at Parkhead expires in the summer of 2017, opted to remain at the club to fight for his place in the team.
The South Africa 2013 Africa Cup of Nations winner confirmed on Saturday he had had contract talks with French Ligue 1 giants Marseille – with the possibility of swapping Celtic Park for Stade Velodrome when the January transfer window opens.
“Yes, I have had contact with Marseille. It’s nothing concrete yet but we will know more in the coming days,” The Scottish Sun quoted the versatile former Israel-based player as saying.
“For now I’m still at Celtic, where I am hoping to do my best to try and force my way back into the plans of the manager.”
Rodgers, who confirmed the Nigerian would depart Celtic in January, hinted he is not favourably disposed towards Ambrose move to France.
“Efe is obviously not playing and he knows where he stands in terms of the team. I want to look after Efe in particular as much as I can,” the Hoops boss told Glasgow Evening Times on Monday.
“This is a guy who when I arrived I saw the newspapers absolutely killing him. This is a good man. He has mistakes like us all but this guy has been slaughtered and made fun of. “
He added, “I want to protect and help him. No, he isn’t playing for me, but he’s a human being and if I can help him get to England then fine,”
“If something does come in then he and I will sit down and see what is best for Efe.
“He has something to offer but in our team that is slightly difficult at the moment.”
Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr omitted Ambrose from his squads for the Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying fixtures against Zambia and Algeria.
The player, who represented Nigeria at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, said on Saturday he had his sights set firmly on fighting his way back into the national team.
He said, “I just want to play football. I still have dreams of representing Nigeria at the 2018 World Cup and playing regularly will boost my chances.”