Acquired by INEOS in 2019, the OGC Nice version Ratcliffe raises a lot of expectations. The Riviera club does not have the same unlimited financial means as QSI’s Paris Saint-Germain, but billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe has the means to take the Aiglons into another dimension. But for three and a half years, the Gym hasn’t been a dream come true despite this change. Fifth in 2020, ninth in 2021, Nice ended the last season in fifth place. Not transcendent.
On the rookie side, there were reinforcements, but again, there was a palpable disappointment between INEOS’ financial potential and the blows made. Thus, the notable moves made (Kasper Dolberg, Adam Ounas, Morgan Schneiderlin, Amine Gouiri, Andy Delort, Mario Lemina, Calvin Stengs, Melvin Bard, Jean-Clair Todibo, Kasper Schmeichel, Aaron Ramsey, Gaëtan Laborde, Sofiane Diop) mainly concern players wishing to relaunch their careers or young hopefuls who are still too tender. A reproach that had also been formulated by Christophe Galtier before leaving the Nice ship.
A recruiting genius
Finally, there were the arrivals on loan of Rony Lopes, Adam Ounas, William Saliba, Jordan Amavi, Jeff Reine-Adélaïde, Justin Kluivert or even Nicolas Pépé. Here again, the overall results are far from expectations. The Lucien Favre case followed. Arrived to succeed Galtier, the Swiss was quickly threatened before finally being retained. Today, Nice is still disappointing in terms of ranking (8th), but INEOS has been busy behind the scenes to raise the bar. Recruits whose effect will not be felt immediately, but which will undoubtedly be decisive in the medium term. On October 5, the gym formalized the future arrival of Florent Ghisolfi as sports director.
A huge blow since the latter is considered one of the best in his position thanks to his feats of arms at RC Lens. It was he, for example, who signed Jonathan Clauss, Christopher Wooh, Seko Fofana or even Loïs Openda. Less than three months later, another thunderclap. This time, it was at Paris Saint-Germain that INEOS came to help itself by poaching the general manager of the Rouge et bleu, Jean-Claude Blanc. “In his role, Jean-Claude Blanc will oversee Ineos’ entire sports portfolio, which covers football, Formula 1, sailing, cycling, rugby and running. In this context, he will work closely with Dave Brailsford who will focus on top-level performance management. Responsibility for execution and management in sports activities rests with the management of each sports team. »
And a business ace
Pillar of PSG version QSI, the Frenchman was one of the last figureheads of the beginning of the QSI era (2011). Much more discreet in the media than Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, the former boss of Juventus will be replaced next year according to PSG, but his departure is a real loss. A finance specialist, Blanc played a leading role in the construction of the future PSG training center and in the expansion of the Parc des Princes. Appreciated and recognized, Blanc is one of the few Parisian leaders to be unanimously accepted by red and blue employees. In 2013, he displayed very high economic ambitions for Paris. “The ambition is to quickly enter the closed circle of the five biggest European clubs. We want to build a global sports brand. ». In January 2014, he gave it a layer. “We offer a universe controlled by the club and we create a PSG universe. We want to create a franchise, like the Los Angeles Lakers or the New York Giants can be.”.
Courted by the organization of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, Blanc had seen his bosses activate to retain him. And for good reason. Eight years after its declarations of intent, PSG is certainly not part of the top 5, but still ranks seventh among the most valuable clubs in the world (3.2 billion dollars) according to Forbes, behind the Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Manchester United, Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Manchester City. A gigantic transformation made possible by the unlimited means of the Qataris of QSI of course, but also thanks to its conductor. In Nice, Jean-Claude Blanc will not only be in charge of the football branch, but the recruitment of a business ace for the sports section of INEOS is a masterstroke. In less than three months, these two good catches have in any case proved to the most skeptical that Ratcliffe does not intend to abandon OGC Nice.