Patrick Vieira’s departure from New York City to take over as head coach of Nice has been confirmed by the Ligue 1 club.
Former France international Vieira, who was a key part of Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ side of 2003-04, takes over from Lucien Favre, who left for Borussia Dortmund in May, but Nice have not disclosed the length of his contract.
Manchester City – part of the City Football Group that owns the New York club – announced the switch on Sunday, but it was not until Monday that the two clubs involved confirmed an agreement.
Vieira says he is excited about the challenge offered to him on the Cote d’Azur.
“I was seduced by the project and by the people involved in it,” he said. “I have talked a lot with [director general] Julien Fournier and the president [Jean-Pierre Rivere].
“When I look at the squad, it makes me very envious. There is everything you need here to succeed.
“My playing career no longer counts for anything, it’s part of the past. The important thing for me is to have a clear idea of what I want from the players, a precise game plan so that they can express themselves because the talent is there.”
Among the elements of the team currently on the books of Nice is striker Mario Balotelli, whose future is unclear. He had previously expressed a desire to depart, but Vieira is hopeful he can talk the former Liverpool and Manchester City attacker into staying.
“I’ve wished Mario happy holidays and told him that I expect to see him at pre-season training on July 2,” he said. “We’ve a lot to talk about.”
Meanwhile, the ex-New York City FC boss is sad to have left the MLS side.
“After two and a half years as head coach of NYCFC, today will be my last day,” Vieira wrote in a statement published on Twitter.
“I can honestly say that my time with the club has been absolutely perfect – both on the professional and personal level.
“I love New York, my family loves New York, and I will always have a NYCFC family here.
“I’m leaving New York with some wonderful memories and I will always be a fan of the club.”
The 41-year-old has been in charge of New York City since 2016, having led the Manchester City reserves following his retirement from playing.
Vieira, who made his professional debut at Cote d’Azur rivals Cannes, takes the helm of a Nice outfit that finished eighth in Ligue 1 last season – just a point outside the European places.
New York City also confirmed assistant coach Christian Lattanzio, performance coach Kristian Wilson and physical performance coach Matt Cook will join Vieira at Nice.