in Nice, the Ineos project takes shape under the leadership of Christophe Galtier

In the space of fifty-seven seconds, they had already imposed their hold. So as not to let her go. After a first goal scored even before the minute of play, the Niçois scored three more, to win the final 4-0 against the Lille outgoing champions of France, Saturday, August 14, on the second day of the League 1 football.

“I have a lot of restraint compared to Lille players and supporters”, reacted, after this “correction”, the coach of OGC Nice, Christophe Galtier, who was, until recently, that of Lille, with whom he had conquered the national title, in May.

Beyond the symbolic, the Niçois have shown that they are now ready to compete with the greatest. And this after two years of reconstruction started with the arrival of a new shareholder, Ineos, the British group specializing in chemicals (also owner of the cycling team of the same name).

First mixed results for the Ineos era

Following this change of owner, the club, then installed in the first part of the Ligue 1 table, had made significant investments: the recruitments of the Danish Kasper Dolberg (Ajax) and the French Alexis Claude-Maurice (Lorient) and Stanley Nsoki (PSG) for example cost the club 48 million euros in total.

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On the ground, however, the results were mixed. The Aiglons have certainly qualified for the Europa League – the second level of European competitions – by virtue of their fifth place in the league, acquired in March at the time of the end of the season due to Covid-19 and total confinement. But this classification was a sham. The club had long sailed in the middle of the table, posting the fifteenth defense (out of twenty) of the elite. Above all, the style of play of coach Patrick Vieira was criticized by many observers.

The 1998 world champion was finally dismissed from his post in December 2020, at the heart of a difficult year for the Azureans: eliminated in the group stage of the Europa League, they finished in ninth place in the 2020-2021 League season. 1.

Many reinforcements

In May, two years after the arrival of Ineos, the management of the club, noting that its project was at a standstill, sought to remobilize its workforce. A figure has emerged: Christophe Galtier. The latter, cold with the new president of Lille, Olivier Létang, arrived in December 2020, was seduced by the Nice project.

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Will he be able to lead Nice to the top? The one who also trained AS Saint-Etienne from 2009 to 2017 has, in any case, obtained many reinforcements. Especially in attack, with Dutch internationals Calvin Stengs (ex-AZ Alkmaar) and Justin Kluivert (on loan from AS Roma). But also in midfield, where Pablo Rosario (ex-PSV Eindhoven), completes the Batavian colony and will play with Gabonese Mario Lemina, who arrived from Southampton (ex-Marseille and ex-Juventus),

The recruitments, which include young Lyon prospect Melvin Bard and center-back Jean-Clair Todibo (bought from Barcelona after a loan in 2020) have been made for a total of 38 million euros. “Perhaps a midfielder is missing, to have more depth of staff”, however believes Fabrice Abriel, ex-player of OGC Nice (between 2011 and 2014), now consultant for Canal +.

If the attack can be based on Kasper Dolberg, or on the French Amine Gouiri, 21, who succeeded in his first year on the Côte d’Azur (16 goals in all competitions), “Christophe Galtier would have liked even more speed in front, tempers Abriel, now coach of FC Fleury (D1 women). It lacks players who do high intensity races, a bit like Victor Osimhen or Jonathan David in Lille. »

The youngest team in Ligue 1

If OGC Nice has displayed an interesting face against Lille, the “Galtier project” is still in its infancy. The 54-year-old coach signed a three-season contract with Nice. “They should not set an objective in the standings, but rather that they be consistent in their performance”, explains Fabrice Abriel, who sees the club “Hang the Europa League”.

With 23.3 years of average age and only two in their thirties (Dante, 37 and Morgan Schneiderlin, 31), Nice is the youngest team in Ligue 1. “Maybe experienced players will join us in this transfer window”, suggested Christophe Galtier, at a press conference on 1is August.

But “Galette” (his nickname) knows how to do with young people: the LOSC champion of France was the third youngest team in Ligue 1. The match against Olympique de Marseille, Sunday August 22 at 8:45 pm, will allow ‘assess Nice’s potential this season.

(Re) read his portrait of 2018: Football: Christophe Galtier, shadow coach