There has been lively activity in the French Ligue 1 side OGC Nice, with Ben Brereton Díaz among the possible names to join the club.
The change this summer is both good and bad. Manager Christophe Galtier departed after guiding the club to the Europa Conference League qualifiers. In his stead, Lucien Favre takes over as manager in his second stint with the club. Previously, Favre took Nice to the UEFA Champions League with a third-place finish, the club’s highest placement in decades.
Ben Brereton Díaz is one of the up and coming names Favre wants to add to a slew of signings at Nice. Currently, Brereton Díaz plays for Blackburn Rovers in the English Championship. In 2021/22, the Chilean international scored 22 goals. This season, he has two goals and an assist to his name in just four appearances for Blackburn.
Brereton Díaz has courtship from a number of clubs outside of Nice, as well. However, it was the French contingent to submit the first bid for his services. According to multiple outlets, Nice submitted a bid of around $10 million. Yet, with interest rising, Blackburn likely rejected the offer. After all, Premier League clubs Everton, Leeds and Bournemouth all put their names in the running to land Ben Brereton Díaz.
Ben Brereton Díaz would be next key signing for Nice
Nice’s intention to land Brereton Díaz represents the club’s ambitions. Already, Lucien Favre brought over a handful of names from top clubs to improve upon what Galtier did a season ago.
A pair of goalkeepers come over in the form of Marcin Bulka from Paris St Germain and Kasper Schmeichel from Leicester City. They replace Walter Benítez, who departed on a free to PSV Eindhoven.
Nice dished out a combined $28 million for center back Mattia Viti and defensive midfielder Alexis Beka Beka. The pair form a new spine for OGC Nice built for years, with the players aged 20 and 21, respectively.
Favre’s influence also landed Aaron Ramsey on a free transfer from Juventus. The Welsh international sees Nice as a chance to return to form and fitness ahead of the 2022 World Cup. In fact, Ramsey came off the bench to score Nice’s equalizer in the season-opening game against Toulouse.
Ben Brereton Díaz would top off this new look core for Nice as Favre looks to push for Champions League qualification.
Goal scoring competition at Nice
Nice does already have interesting options up top that Brereton Díaz would have to compete against.
22-year-old French forward Amine Gouiri had 10 goals and nine assists last season. Danish International Kasper Dolberg bagged just six goals and two assists in 26 games. Finally, Andy Delort, an Algerian International, scored 16 goals and made two assists in his first season with the club.
Brereton Díaz would be a further goal scoring threat. Dolberg failed to be prolific last season. Consequently, he failed to be named to Nice’s squad to start the season.
Gouiri can play in a wide role as well, which leaves Delort the current favored center forward. Brereton Díaz’s potential move across the channel adds another goal scorer, adding competition to the position. Apparently, Favre does not believe Dolberg can do that.
The other player who reportedly on Nice’s radar is Chelsea left back Emerson Palmieri. The 28-year-old Italian failed to make an impact on the first team. Therefore, he spent last season on loan at Lyon, making 29 appearances.
Favre sees a need to add depth at fullback, especially on the left side with Melvin Bard being the only natural left back in the first team squad currently. A player like Emerson adds flexibility in providing depth on both sides. Another loan deal in France could benefit the player and Nice in securing more game time and earning a permanent move away from the English capital.
Nice look set to build a squad who can compete to a top and improve on last season’s impressive displays. They finished fifth, but just three points behind Monaco in third. Ligue 1 will be very competitive once again for the places below a dominant PSG, who are now managed by Nice’s former coach Galtier.
PHOTO: Paul Greenwood – CameraSport via Getty Images
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