Brilliant in sequence but doubling inconstancy, Nice, led by Christophe Galtier, finished fifth last year. To reach the Champions League, the Gym bet on Lucien Favre, an old acquaintance of the club. The transfer window has started piano, but its acceleration in recent hours could consolidate an already robust workforce. Overview of the Nice forces, before the team’s first trip to Toulouse, Sunday August 7 at 1 p.m.
The objective: the beautiful game to rally the C1
In the summer of 2017, Nice played (and lost) their only modern Champions League play-off against Naples. Lucien Favre then piloted a Gym with a brilliant game. Five years later, the Swiss puts on his Nice coach jacket. His leitmotif has not changed one iota: he remains an apostle of Nice game. “Today is a better coach”assures even Captain Dante, in Nice-Matin (article for subscribers).
His return raises many hopes, especially since the sometimes purring game played under Galtier annoyed the leaders of Nice. Favre knows how to do it: his OGC Nice was the fourth attack of L1 in 2017. Reinvigorating an amateur offensive animation will be part of his challenges to finally find the C1 and meet the expectations of the owner, Jim Ratcliffe. We will have to deal with a demanding schedule, since the Gym will play in the Europa League conference play-offs from mid-August.
Player to watch: Calvin Stengs finally on the attack?
Last summer, he was one of the darlings of the Nice transfer window. Tenured eleven times, the Dutch winger Calvin Stengs could not express his talent other than in waves. At 23, he is expected at the turn, in a 4-3-3 undoubtedly more conducive to his intrinsic qualities of percussion.
“He’s a pure ball playerpraised his captain Dante. He benefits from a good preparation, he is growing. You have to trust him.” Rather used on the right wing by Favre, Stengs distinguished himself by scoring against Torino in a friendly. “He’s still a young player, he’s going to get stronger”analyzed Favre in Nice-Matin (article for subscribers).
The rookie: Aaron Ramsey, the chef’s surprise
A high-sounding name at OGC Nice is not a surprise in itself. After all, Hatem Ben Arfa, Mario Balotelli or Wesley Sneijder have joined the Gym in recent years. Nevertheless, the arrival of Aaron Ramsey, made official on Monday, was difficult to predict. The Welsh midfielder, who passed through Arsenal then Juventus, is more used to big European teams.
Yes, but at 31, Ramsey is coming off a rocky year. Held back by injuries in Piedmont, he followed that up with a contrasting six-month loan to Glasgow Rangers. His contribution will do good in a group where, with 81 European matches, he will be the most seasoned player in continental games.