March 5, 2019
Gilles Grimandi named Technical director
Former Arsenal player and scout Gilles Grimandi has been named OGC Nice Technical Director.
During his presentation to the press, Gauthier Ganaye was asked about the former Gunner, who has been available since he left Arsenal. He gave no indication of the likelihood of seeing him join the Gym, but added “that a club like OGC Nice would always be on the lookout for the best people, in every area. And given that you mention Gilles Grimandi, there is no need to highlight his qualities, nor what he has achieved in his career.”
Since then, behind the scenes, the work has continued. And the positions of all parties have converged further on a daily basis. Without noise. Apart from the former scout being seen during the Reserve team’s recent derby against Monaco at the start of February at Charles-Ehrmann. The dinner held last Wednesday with Gauthier Ganaye, Chien Lee and Patrick Vieira will therefore also go uncovered. And the discussions that took place that evening served to confirm that each of the participants shared the same vision for the sporting future of OGC Nice and a common desire to collaborate together. There were just the formalities to complete. And these were done at the start of the week.
“It was a priority”, explained Gauthier Ganaye who met with Gilles Grimandi in the first days of his presidency, with the idea already having been floated within the club prior to that. “In the past, Gilles met with Jean-Pierre (Rivère) and Julien (Fournier), and in the days leading up to my appointment, I also advised Chien (Lee) and Paul (Conway) to see him. They also had a good feeling”, continued the President of OGC Nice who will be looking to his new Technical Director to “increase the synergies between the academy and the professional team.”
”OGC Nice boasts ultramodern facilities. And the development of young players with a view to them one day playing for the first team has always been part of the club’s business model. All of this work between the first team, the academy and the scouting team deserves to be coordinated. Gilles will be wearing all three hats.”
First team, academy and recruitment
As his job title indicates, the role has a particular focus on the technical elements and will extend as far as “the club’s philosophy of how we play football, from the academy to the first team. We want all of the OGC Nice teams to demonstrate this style.”, continued Ganaye. He will coordinate the work of the scouting network and will define its focus, both for the pros and the academy.
In order to be this “go-between” with such a strategic role in the sporting development of a club, Gauthier Ganaye targeted a seasoned expert: “Gilles is aware of the demanding nature of the very highest level and the level of detail that the level requires. He has the experience at a very big club, who had a similar strategy to our own, focusing on the recruitment of young talented players, particularly from France during a certain period.”
“We will work as a trio Gilles, Patrick and I. Being aligned is essential”, highlighted President Ganaye for whom the personality had equally been a key factor. “The man suits what we are looking to put in place at OGC Nice“, explained Ganaye who had first met with Gilles Grimandi four years ago: “He came to buy two of our best academy players at RC Lens (Jeff Reine-Adelaïde and Yassin Fortune, Editor’s note), two complicated cases. We spent time together and you get an idea of the person that is opposite you. He is genuine, a hard worker who will bring even more rigour and professionalism to every level.”
G. Grimandi: “I am here because of the club’s project”
“I see the opportunity to join OGC Nice as a great one. After 20 years spent at Arsenal, I am happy to return to France, with a project that reminds me of my first hours in England”, explained the new Technical Director of Le Gym. Although his relationship with Patrick Vieira (with whom he shares a glorious past at Arsenal) will of course play an important role, Gilles Grimandi insists: “I am of course delighted that our paths have crossed once again. But I wouldn’t want shortcuts to be made, with people thinking that I decided this on a whim because Patrick is at Nice. I am here because of the club’s project. We spoke at length about this with Gauthier and Patrick, to share our visions and discuss our ways of working. We are on the same wave length. We are all very similar, we have relatively similar personalities, whilst at the same time complementing each other in our respective roles. The discussions that I had, reassured me that this is an ambitious club, built upon a solid base and whose squad has real potential and it will be down to us to complete that and perfect it. I will definitively move to Nice from the end of the month, but my work has already started, driven by a huge motivation to prove that I am deserving of the confidence that the club has placed in me.”
Gilles Grimandi in short
Thrown in at the deep end by Arsène Wenger at Monaco, Gilles Grimandi joined up with the French coach six years later in England, after winning the league with Jean Tigana’s ASM in 1997. At Arsenal, in defence and in midfield, consistently maintaining the same battling temperament, he won trophy after trophy (two league and cup doubles in 1998 and then 2002) before spending 13 years in the Gunners’ scouting team.