OGC Nice was the youngest team in Europe's top five leagues in the 2019-20 season, a stat that highlights the club's forward-looking sports policy...
OGC Nice are not a club who believe that youth is an impediment to talent, maturity and footballing magic. The achievements of Patrick Vieira's young squad - fifth place in Ligue 1 Conforama in 2019-20 and, most likely, a place in the Europa League - reflect this, and as Director of Football Julien Fournier explained, the club is not about to change course.
"We want to make the club grow in terms of competitive spirit," said Fournier. "It's not a question of age. Youcef Atal and Hicham Boudaoui are competitors, winners."
Youth no barrier
Indeed, the likes of Atal and Boudaoui - and Kasper Dolberg, Alexis Claude-Maurice, to name a few - put on an ultra-impressive showing in season 2019-20. So impressive that it's a surprise to know that they were the youngest team in any of Europe's big five leagues!
Patrick Vieira wasn't afraid to run the rule over his entire squad, sometimes dipping into his youth ranks, and ended up handing game time to a league-high total of 31 players with an average age of 24 years and 86 days. No French team had a younger average age - in fact no-one across Europe did either!
Nice's closest competition in the youth stakes came from fellow Ligue 1 Conforama outfit LOSC, whose coach Christophe Galtier has always been an advocate of giving young talent a chance. Les Dogues, who finished fourth in Ligue 1 Conforama, were in fact just a few days older than Nice on average, clocking in at 24 years and 217 days.
RB Leipzig, third in the Bundesliga and through to the Champions League quarters after eliminating José Mourinho's Tottenham Hotspur in the Round of 16, came in in third place with an average age of 24 years and 293 days.
Thuram, the youngest
This season, five players born in 1998 or later made their Ligue 1 Conforama debuts for OGC Nice: Alexis Claude-Maurice (1998, who had only played in L2 with Lorient), Hicham Boudaoui (1999, arrived from Paradou), Moussa Wagué (1998, Barcelona), Khephren Thuram (2001, Monaco youth academy), Ibrahim Cissé (1999, FC Abidjan youth academy, Nice youth team). Born in 1997 and trained at the club, Yannis Clémentia also made his professional debut on 10 August 2019, at the age of 22.