Final Coupe de France – Nice – Nantes – There was no revolution: where is the Ineos project in Nice?

It has been 25 years since Nice have won something. In the spring of 1997, the gym lifted its latest Coupe de France. On Saturday, the Aiglons will look to brush up on their record against FC Nantes, but also to hone their shareholder Ineos’ new ambitions. Two and a half years after the acquisition of the Riviera club by the very wealthy British group specializing in chemicals, Nice will experience the first great evening of its new life. The arrival of Ineos could have revived the club with tens of millions spent and pharaonic investments. This was not the case.

The fantasies related to Ineos’ immense successes in cycling and his gigantic financial means (60 billion in turnover in 2019) quickly died down: no, Ineos did not come to the Côte d’Azur to compete with PSG in Ligue 1. The revolution did it does not take place. In two and a half years, Nice have certainly spent 139 million euros, a hefty sum at a time when French and European football had to tighten their belts. But no investment exceeded 20 million euros. Nothing to do with the arrival of the Qataris in Paris in 2011.

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Buying 50 million players is not the goal

I understand the impatience of the observers but the media do not have the right analysisJulien Fournier, the sporting director of OGC Nice, warns us from the start. Ineos is present in many sports. If I have to compare the Sky Team before Ineos arrived, it was the Real Madrid of cycling. In Formula 1, the Mercedes team that Ineos has invested in is FC Barcelona. We are OGC Nice. We go much further. Maybe it’s not going fast enough but buying 50 million players isn’t the goal. Let’s put the layers. We keep moving forward.

Delort: “Bringing the Cup to Nice is a mission”

Since the change of ownership, the club has finished its exercises in 5th place then in 9th place. This season he is fighting for the podium and qualification for the Champions League. “Today we are in transition times“, reveals Julien Fournier. In 10 years, Nice have gone from a club fighting for survival in Ligue 1 to one with European ambitions. The aim is to perpetuate the club in this fight for the top 5 at each end. How: By attracting the best European aspirants.

Galtier, Gouiri and Fournier, pillars of the Ineos project in Nice

Credit: Eurosport

We will never be Real Madrid or Manchester United

We are attractive to young people. Thuram, Todibo, Bard, Gouiri, Kluivert didn’t come at all“, Fournier recalls. Nice’s strength is that today, unlike the vast majority of French clubs, they are no longer forced to sell to survive. The time when you had to decide to let Jordan Amavi go. Villa in 2015 against 11 million euros) to afford a training center and equipment worthy of the L1 is over.

Therefore, can Nice retain its best elements while Amine Gouiri and Kephren Thuram will necessarily be coveted this summer? “Economically yesFournier’s slice. But this is not our way of thinking. If tomorrow a club par excellence, that is, capable of winning the Champions League, wants one of our players, how do you think we will treat him? I’m not going to ban a guy from playing in a club like that if there’s a real project behind it. We will continue to sell because we will never be Real Madrid or Manchester United. If these clubs come, we can’t attack the players.

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Chelsea and possible relegation in the Ineos galaxy?

While Jim Ratcliffe, the big boss, prepares a second offer for the acquisition of Chelsea and two clubs of the same shareholder cannot play the European Cups together, Nice, now the main ship of the Ineos fleet in the world of football, could be relegated in the hierarchy and see his status and ambitions undermined by the necessarily gigantic effort made to take over the fate of the Blues. “I know this does not question Ineos’ determination to grow Nice. Jim has the means to buy Chelsea, he’s good for him“, Replied Christophe Galtier last Sunday.

So how can Nice grow? A Champions League qualification this year will not change Aiglon and Ineos’ equipment. Only regular participation in C1 would allow to start a virtuous circle and to change dimension. Today Nice continues to turn to young people with high potential who already have solid experience. Will Ineos’ contribution allow him one day to position himself on players of the rank of Kylian Mbappé? “It’s science fictionFournier cut. We are not there. We can’t attract these types of players except by overpaying them. And this will never be the strategy of Nice and Ineos. You have to be credible for these players. Don’t forget we haven’t won anything yet.“From 1997 and maybe until Saturday …

“It’s science fiction”: Fournier explains why Nice doesn’t target a star like Mbappé

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