Having arrived on the Côte d’Azur last summer after an 11-year spell at Leicester, Kasper Schmeichel has had a mixed first year at Nice, overseeing the league’s second best defence all the while seeing Les Aiglons finish in a disappointing tenth place after a tumultuous campaign.
According to L’Équipe, the Dane has a better relationship with Didier Digard – who took charge in January – than with former manager Lucien Favre, and chooses his own training schedule, often going into the gym alone.
This was notably the case in the lead-up to the match against Toulouse, when several of his teammates were surprised not to see the goalkeeper at the training ground – the club told L’Équipe that this was in agreement with the coaching staff. Nevertheless, Schmeichel’s freedom is frustrating some of the Nice players, who feel he is pushing it in terms of the privileges he enjoys thanks to his experience.
Generally speaking, the feeling at the club is that Schmeichel has not taken up the role of a leader for the young players, as was initially hoped for when he arrived. His relationship with his competitor Marcin Bułka, who himself is popular in the dressing room, is distant, and L’Équipe indicate that one of the two is likely to leave this summer. Given the veteran continues to speak of a return to England, the club will not hold him back – in which case Bułka will promoted to first choice, as was initially planned. If Schmeichel remains, the Pole will be loaned out.
GFFN | Raphaël Jucobin