Christophe Galtier, fresh from taking LOSC to the Ligue 1 Uber Eats title in 2020-21, has been appointed as head coach of OGC Nice, where his mission will be to steer the project built by Ineos, the Côte d'Azur club's ambitious owners.
"OGC Nice are pleased to confirm the appointment of Christophe Galtier as their new head coach with immediate effect," the British group, Ineos, wrote in a statement. Galtier, 54, was Lille's coach from December 2017 to May 2021, a run that was crowned by the French league title a month ago.
He announced his desire to leave the northern French club and find a new challenge a few days after winning the title and while Lyon and Napoli were mentioned as serious options, OGC Nice were the favourites to land the in-demand coach's signature.
According to a source close to OGCN, buying out the final year of Galtier's contract with LOSC came at a price tag of around three million euros for the Côte d'Azur club, which has been owned by petrochemical group Ineos, chaired by British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, since August 2019.
"I am very excited about the idea of coaching Le Gym and joining the Ineos Football project. I met Jim, and it's very clear that he wants to be ambitious for the club and I am too," Galtier was quoted as saying.
A 'colossal' project
After signing in the north of France at the end of 2017 to take over from Argentine Marcelo Bielsa when Lille were 18th, Galtier gave LOSC a new impetus. This took Les Dogues all the way to the top tier of the Ligue 1 Uber Eats podium at the end of last season, sensationally dethroning Paris Saint-Germain and garnering the club the fourth French league title in its history.
But a few hours after this title, he explained that he did not want to "fall into a routine" and informed Lille president Olivier Létang of his desire to go elsewhere. "I simply have the deep conviction that my time here is over," he said in a long interview with L'Equipe.
In the same interview, Galtier also noted how important the Nice project was, even though the club failed to qualify for Europe after a complicated 2020-2021 campaign that saw Patrick Vieira sacked in the autumn.
"Wherever Ineos go, they win. They are on the fastest car in Formula 1 (Mercedes). They are on the fastest boats and bikes in the world", said Galtier of the company behind the "colossal" project at Nice. Galtier, who is very close to OGCN Director of Football Julien Fournier, was also welcomed and praised by Nice's mayor Christian Estrosi on Monday.
"Christophe Galtier is undoubtedly one of the greatest coaches of the moment and the fact that he has chosen Nice shows the seriousness and solidity of the project that Ineos is building for Le Gym," said the former government minister.