News of Patrick Vieira leaving New York City FC to take over as Nice manager was peculiarly confirmed by Manchester City on Sunday.
The Premier League club deleted the story at around 7:20 p.m. ET.
Vieira was overseeing the Manchester City’s Elite Development Squad before taking over at NYCFC, another outfit owned by the City Football Group, in 2016.
“I would like to thank City Football Group and New York City FC for the opportunity to have coached this tremendous football club,” Vieira was quoted as saying on Manchester City’s website. “Leaving New York is an incredibly difficult decision for me and for my family and one that has not been taken lightly.”
“From the beginning, City Football Group and its leadership, particularly our chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Brian Marwood, Ferran Soriano, and Marty Edelman have believed in me and have helped guide me through the last eight years of my career – starting with my time as a player and ultimately culminating with my first opportunity to manage a first team.”
The news release said Vieira will be joined at Nice by assistant coach Christian Lattanzio, performance coach Kristian Wilson, and physical performance coach Matt Cook.
(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)
Since moving to Major League Soccer, Vieira was repeatedly linked to jobs back in Europe, including one at his former club Arsenal when it was confirmed that Arsene Wenger was departing in May. The Gunners instead plumped for Unai Emery, but Vieira’s links with other roles in France wouldn’t abate until Manchester City broke the story that Vieira is set to succeed Lucien Favre at Nice.
Vieira wasn’t able to collect honours with New York City FC. In his maiden season, his side was dumped from the postseason by Toronto FC in the Eastern Conference semi-finals, and the following campaign saw NYCFC fall at the same hurdle to the Columbus Crew. However, he was noted for exemplary leadership skills in the Big Apple, helped extend the careers of Frank Lampard and David Villa, and was key in the development of Jack Harrison, who is now on the books of Manchester City, and other youngsters.
“Having the opportunity to be a head coach in New York is something many dream of,” Vieira continued. “Our incredibly passionate fans have made this one of the most special experiences I’ve had in football. Thank you to each and every one of you that stands by the team day in and day out.”
Like NYCFC, Nice is a club dedicated to the progression of young players, but he could also be managing a former teammate on the French Riviera. Italian maverick Mario Balotelli has been subject of reports suggesting he is leaving Nice, but may be encouraged to stay and play for the man he won the FA Cup with for Manchester City in 2011.