Julien Fournier, Nice’s sporting director, has shared how he uses the club’s “huge fantasies” to attract young stars such as Justin Kluivert.
Nice has had a great season. They are now second in Ligue 1 with 20 rounds. However, they are still 11 points behind Paris at top of the table.
Galtier’s team is currently in the Champions League qualifying process. The French coach, after a busy summer of transfers, has quickly assembled a strong squad with the financial backing of Ineos.
Nice has been performing admirably this season with players like Kluivert and Todibo as well as Bard and Stens. Fournier revealed how he managed to bring so many talented young players to the club.
Enough Football was told by him that he had drawn a large pie but that he did it in a very simple manner.
“In my case, it’s a walk around and showing the club’s interest. I also like to meet the player in his environment.”
“I try to invite myself into their homes, and if that is impossible, we meet in private rooms in hotels. I try to meet the parents of any young player when we’re looking for one.
“Aside from the agent I enjoy talking to my family members because it gives me a feeling for the child’s environment.”
Fournier also talked about how he arranged Kluivert’s loan to Roma: “We could take Justin Kluivert for an example, as we showed interest in his very early days.”
“Nice didn’t say much at first, even though Nice had played against us with Ajax and lost to us.”
“He was a player for three clubs in the Champions League and was aspiring to do something else.” So I took him to Nice FC’s training center to watch the game against Reims, and then went back to see him.
“It allowed me to show him the facilities of the club and to have confidential discussions with him. Although I was unable to tell him the name of the coach at the time, I told him that he would soon find out.
“He brought Calvin Stens along on his second visit, and we locked ourselves into the office and discussed tactical issues with Christophe Galtier.”
“We also discussed what we wanted as a club and the competitions that they were going to enter, the competition they would win, and our ambitions for them.”
Nice’s wealth owners meant that the club didn’t have to sell its best players later, something many ambitious mid-table clubs suffer from after a successful run of results.
Fournier stated that the plan remains the same. The arrival of Ineos today has allowed us to keep our top players. Gueiry and Thuram would have been sold at one time. Our ability to retain our top players and remain competitive over the long-term is what makes the club different.”
Galtier was praised for his role in leading a Lille side to the Ligue 1 title. However, he decided to leave the club just two days after claiming the trophy.
Nice was backed by Jim Ratcliffe, the British billionaire, and signed him to a 3-year contract.
Fournier confirmed that Galtier was on their club’s shortlist to win the title, even though he won Lille to victory. They were looking for a coach to take their ambitious project to the next stage.
He stated, “Before Galtier was French champion, we had already established that we would invite him to coach Nice even if he didn’t win Ligue 1.”
“The timing of the choice of the coach was important. We brought in Lucien Favre, Claude Puel, and Lucien Favre. These were bad choices.”
“Galtier’s entry was the right time in terms of his reputation and his position at the club.”
When asked about his relationship with Galtier, Fournier responded, “We have known one another for 20 years, and he and I have been working together for several years.”
Galtier is a special person because of the relationship we have. He knew about the project before I did because it was part of our friendly discussions.