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Brunei
Tuesday, September 27, 2022
29.7 C
Brunei
Tuesday, September 27, 2022
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    Nice owners Ineos hoping ex-Premier League stars will lead club to promised land

    PARIS (AFP) – A club with mega-rich British owners and ambitions of reaching the Champions League, it has been a bad start to the season for Nice despite the addition of several household names from English football in the transfer window.

    Veteran Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel joined after 11 years at Leicester City, while ex-Arsenal star Aaron Ramsey signed on a free after leaving Juventus.

    French-born Ivory Coast forward Nicolas Pepe then arrived on loan from Arsenal, before the signing of England international midfielder Ross Barkley, who was a free agent after leaving Chelsea.

    Barkley, 28, was paraded before supporters prior to last weekend’s 1-0 home loss to Monaco and Nice will hope he can quickly make an impact in a struggling side.

    After all, Nice go to Ajaccio this weekend sitting 16th in Ligue 1, with just one win and five points from their first six games.

    Nice’s players applaud at the end of a match. PHOTO: AP

    They have scored just four goals – three of them penalties – and are already nine points adrift of the top three and a Champions League qualifying spot, having squandered a strong position in the table last season.

    They were second in March before falling away and needing to win on the final night just to snatch fifth and a place in this season’s Europa Conference League.

    They also lost the French Cup final to Nantes.

    That was a blow for a club that has been transformed in recent years, especially since being taken over in 2019 by Ineos, the group chaired by Monaco-based British petrochemicals billionaire Jim Ratcliffe.

    Nice’s poor finish last season meant coach Christophe Galtier was not greatly missed as he departed for Paris Saint-Germain.

    His replacement, Swiss veteran Lucien Favre, then hardly played down expectations as he returned for a second spell at the club he led to third place in 2017.

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