Final Coupe de France – Nice – Nantes – The revolution did not take place: where is the Ineos project in Nice?

It’s been 25 years since Nice won anything. Spring 1997, the Gym raised its last Coupe de France. On Saturday, the Aiglons will try to dust off their record against FC Nantes but also to sharpen their new ambitions carried by their shareholder Ineos. Two and a half years after the takeover of the Riviera club by the very prosperous British group specializing in chemicals, Nice is going to live the first big night of its new life. The arrival of Ineos could have boosted the club with tens of millions spent and pharaonic investments. It was not the case.

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

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Buying players at 50 million is not the goal

I understand the impatience of the observers but the media does not have the right analysiswarns us from the start Julien Fournier, the football director of OGC Nice. Ineos is present in many sports. If I have to compare the Sky Team before the arrival of Ineos, it was the Real Madrid of cycling. In Formula 1, the Mercedes team in which Ineos has invested is FC Barcelona. We are OGC Nice. We go much further. Maybe it’s not going fast enough but buying players at 50 million is not the goal. We put on 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 then in 9th place. This season, he is in the fight for the podium and a qualification for the Champions League. “Today, we are in transition times“, reveals Julien Fournier. In 10 years, Nice has gone from a club fighting for its survival in Ligue 1 to a formation with European ambitions. The objective is to perpetuate the club in this fight for the top 5 at each end. How: By attracting the best European hopefuls.

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 did not come for nothing“, recalls Fournier. The strength of Nice is that today, unlike the vast majority of French clubs, it is no longer forced to sell to survive. The time when it was necessary to resolve to let go Jordan Amavi (note: at Aston 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 slice. But that’s not our way of thinking. If tomorrow, an ultimate club, that is to say capable of winning the Champions League, wants one of our players, how do you expect us to retain him? I’m not going to ban a boy from playing in such a club if there is 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 cannot attach the players.

Keep Gouiri and Thuram thanks to Ineos? “It’s not our way of thinking…”

Chelsea and a possible demotion in the Ineos galaxy?

While Jim Ratcliffe, the big boss, is preparing a second offer for the takeover of Chelsea and two clubs held by the same shareholder cannot play the European Cups together, Nice, today the main ship of the Ineos fleet in the world of football, could demote in the hierarchy and see its status and its ambitions weakened by the necessarily gigantic effort made to take the destiny of the Blues in hand. “I know that does not call into question Ineos’ determination to grow Nice. Jim has the means to buy Chelsea, it’s good for him“, replied Christophe Galtier last Sunday.

So how can Nice grow? A qualification for the Champions League this year will not change the Aiglons and Ineos gear. Only regular participation in the C1 would make it possible to initiate a virtuous circle and change dimension. Today, Nice continues to target young people with high potential who already have solid experience. Will Ineos’ contribution one day allow him to position himself on players of the rank of Kylian Mbappé? “It’s science fictionFournier cut. We are not in there. We cannot attract this type of player 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.“Since 1997 and maybe until Saturday…

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

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