Ligue 1 side OGC Nice have been plunged into crisis following the recent announcement that Sporting Director and President duo Julien Fournier and Jean Pierre Rivère would be stepping down from their positions as soon as replacements are found for them by the American-Chinese ownership consortium.
With Mario Balotelli departing from the club officially today from Olympique de Marseille, the club is desperate need for attacking reinforcements, but Chien Lee and his fellow investors have rejected every prospective deal that Rivère and Fournier had brokered for this January transfer window: Ryad Boudebouz (Real Betis), Younes Belhanda (Galatasaray), Facundo Ferreyra (Benfica) and Valère Germain (Marseille) had all given their agreement to join Les Aiglons this summer, either on loan, on loan with an option to buy or permanently, but Lee and co vetoed their arrivals.
Patrick Vieira has done very well to keep Les Aiglons in the battle for Europe, but something has got to give.
Chien Lee and his fellow investors want the club’s policy to be about investing in youth and then selling them on for considerable profit, but that model doesn’t work if there aren’t some experienced players in the squad too.
Rivère’s replacement has already been announced to the press as 30-year-old Gauthier Ganaye, who is currently at Barnsley, another club owned by Chien Lee, as their Chief Executive.
Ganaye has instead offered alternative options to his owners in terms of attackers to sign, including Umut Bozok (Nîmes), Lys Mousset (Bournemouth) and Florian Ayé (Clermont), but the existing recruitment cell and manager Patrick Vieira are not convinced, they want proven attacking talent in the squad.
Sources inside OGC Nice have had the following to say on the situation: “It is very worrying for the future of the club to see what is currently happening.”
To make matters more precarious, Nice-Matin have revealed that there is a clause in Patrick Vieira’s contract that enables him to quit the club, no strings attached, in the event that Jean-Pierre Rivère and Julien Fournier depart.
This leaves the American-Chinese owners and Gauthier Ganaye with no guarantees relating to one of the most important pieces at the club.
In order to retain Vieira, Ganaye and co. will have to rapidly satisfy the former New York FC boss with essential transfer window recruits.
We are a week away from the deadline.