why the return of Lucien Favre turned into a fiasco

Lucien Favre and OGC Nice (13th in Ligue 1) are about to part ways. It is in any case the will of the two parties after a failed start to the season. Explanations.

A poorly negotiated transfer window

Fifth in Ligue 1, qualified for the Europa League Conference play-offs and finalist for the Coupe de France, Le Gym had to surf on its 2021-2022 season to reach a new level. Finally, everything shattered during the summer. Christophe Galtier left for PSG and the transfer window was initially entrusted to the director of football, Julien Fournier. But the latter is kicked out following the audit of Dave Brailsford, sports director at Ineos, and the well-advanced files proposed to Lucien Favre are thrown in the trash.

An external adviser, Iain Moody, was then appointed to manage the transfer window. Without a guideline, the players arrive without the coach’s opinion weighing in on the decisions. The Swiss technician notably learned of the signature of Ross Barkley when it was already recorded. A file led by Dave Brailsford without the approval of the coach or the external adviser called in for reinforcement.

Unhappy with the turn of events, Lucien Favre made it known. The reality is out of step with the project presented to him to bring him back. The last hours of the transfer window attest to this, which turned the squad upside down and filled in some gaps, targeted for a long time, with players unknown in France, like Joe Bryan (left side on loan from Fulham) and Mads Bech Sorensen (central defender on loan from Brentford).

An undermined authority

At Les Aiglons, the entourage of new goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel is in direct contact with owner Jim Ratcliffe. Which may have caused some frustration. During the first day, for example, relatives of the goalkeeper did not hesitate to call the boss directly so that Favre established the Dane. It was bad to know the former coach of Dortmund. Favre left Schmeichel on the sidelines and preferred Marcin Bulka.

More generally, the doorman passed by Leicester violates the rules of life of the group (meeting time, greening of the club), which annoys certain partners of the locker room. Far from being irreproachable when he is the holder, the captain of the Danish selection also stood out upon his arrival with a very high body fat index.

A less favorable environment

OGC Nice is restructuring. A new general manager, Fabrice Bocquet, will quickly be formalized but is already touring the offices. A sports director is also expected. The leaders of Nice are working on this file because they need reinforcement to manage the transfer windows to come. His mission will also be to embody a certain authority in the locker room. A role left vacant since the departure of Julien Fournier.

During his previous successes, Lucien Favre was also surrounded by solid assistants, especially tactically. During his first stint in Nice, Adrian Ursea, who later became number one, was recognized as one of the very best. In Dortmund also his deputy, Edin Terzic, was entrusted with the reins of the club on his departure.

This time around, that won’t be the case. Nice will bet neither on Christophe Moulin nor on Arjan Peço. Their CVs do not plead for them and from the start of their mission questions arose internally about their skills. The last city was also dismissed from the management after having had an inappropriate attitude with the receptionist of a hotel on the sidelines of the trip to Ajaccio.

Maxime Tilliette and Fabrice Hawkins

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