The transfer window in Nice has accelerated significantly since the beginning of August. If we add to the recruits the return of Lucien Favre, does this off-season suit you?
“The transfer period took a while to settle down. For now, I’m content with the recruits as they fill in the gaps: Schmeichel to replace Benitez, and Viti to gradually replace Dante. Ramsey, this is an opportunity. He was free and it was the end of the gondola for Ineos [propriétaire du club, ndlr] : He’s Welsh, like the athletic director of Ineos. Rares Ilie is the choice of Lucien Favre, a young Romanian with very high potential. We also took pica pica. On the other hand, we haven’t sold one and there is a traffic jam in the middle. Overall satisfied, but it’s not over yet. There will be two or three arrivals in the offensive sector. The transfer window has been delayed due to the internal reorganization between the departure of sporting director Julien Fournier, the departure of Christophe Galtier, and the return of Lucien Favre… Today’s Project. He’s a great manager, he’s a tactician, and he wants certain traits. He came back with some guarantees in the transfer window. His return was an important message sent by the fans and the Premier League.”
Three years after the arrival of your Ineos contributor, what is your initial assessment? The project seems to be a bit stagnant…
“The first rating is rather average, at best true. We were expecting better. You can’t deny that they put money in it. There were first-year recruits, and there were Dolberg, Claude-Maurice, and Nsoki, for sums that Nice had never asked for before. In the first year, the year of Covid, we got fifth, somewhat by surprise given the level of play. The following year, Vieira was fired and Orsi took charge of the team, and we finally got Galtier for the third year. Suppose it lacks continuity. We could have continued with Galtier if Campos had not arrived at PSG. But there was also a break in the Nice locker room. Sure, Galtaire contributed mathematically, but in terms of communication and human management, it was very complicated internally apparently.
When you have the will to make a really big project, it won’t happen overnight. It was three years first test. Ineos wants to create an excellent training center and give the club European and even international recognition. When you bring up Ramsey and Schmeichel, you score a sports hit, but also your brand image. I am very optimistic about the future. Ineos knows how to win.”
Has the club set itself a clear goal this season?
“President Jean-Pierre Riviere’s goal is to be European, to be part of the top five and to be regularly in Europe. On the other hand, on the day of his presentation to the press, “We’re in the top three and more if we want,” Lucien Favre said. We know there is ambition and that is embodied during this transfer period. We will also have to pass the Conference League qualifiers, be strong in Europe and gain European experience, because we lack it. Even compared to Lille, Rennes and Marseille.”
We imagine that Nice need to start his season successfully on the field, right?
“Yes, we want victory. For every match OGC Nice will play, it will be a winning goal. We are not going to draw at Toulouse, without wanting to offend you, and we must maintain this ambition as much as possible. You also have to assert yourself, and this requires a good start, against a cheerful team. Then soon we will have a home and away match in the Conference League. It will be necessary to rest assured after a rather complicated preparation. Next, the match takes place at 1pm in mid-August in Toulouse. The physical dimension will be very important. The five changes will likely have an impact on the outcome of the match.“
A word on Jean-Claire Todibo and Andy Delort, who are both former members of Tiff?
“Tobido frankly is the boss. Nice, last year, had the best combined defense in Ligue 1. And if I give you my top 3 players last year, they are Todibo, Delort and Thuram. Todibo was incredibly consistent and issued pro lessons, especially at the Parc des Princes, where he ate Mbappé throughout the match. I get the impression that Todibo needed a framework, and a club that understands it too, because it’s a bit crazy. He has a good mentality, natural and excessive ambition for himself and the club. He is one of the unsellable players. And if he’s going to stay for a few more seasons, I think he’s the one who will take the captaincy after Dante retires.
Delort was an order from Galtier. Without him, we did not catch up with Europe last year. He scored very important goals, including that hat-trick in Reims on the last day. After that, many fans are wondering how compatible it is with the Favre game. At home and in Montpellier, he twice played at the front. Will he be able to adapt to Favre 4-3-3? Personally, I consider it complete enough to be able to adapt. It starts on Sunday, but watch out for the upcoming competition.“
How do you see TFC this season?
“I’m not going to lie to you, I’ve followed Ligue 2 from afar. But from the outside, it seems to work really well. They seem to have taken control of Ligue 2, without really being afraid, sometimes with rivers scores. Above all, the staffing is well thought out and not too expensive, with different data-centric approaches. This piques my curiosity, because it is very objective and above all because it pays off. There are four runs this season but I don’t see you pulling back, I think there are teams that are a little bit weaker. But it will be very difficult with the four proportions.“
Any predictions for Sunday’s match? What about the final classification of the two clubs?
“I will say 1-0 to Nice. It will probably be an open game, but I don’t see a lot of goals. Small 1-0 tough, I take it.
For the final ranking, I see you between 12th and 16th. Anyway, not in Ligue 2. And for OGC Nice, I’m obviously going to get wet: unlike the mainstream national media that doesn’t see Nice in the top five, I’d say 3The tenth. Because if he takes the graft, he can give something very powerful.“