NICE, FRANCE – Former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira was hired as manager of the French club Nice on Monday after leaving as coach of New York City FC.
Vieira replaces Lucien Favre at Nice. New York City FC said Domenec Torrent will succeed Vieira at the Major League Soccer club. Torrent will begin in New York once his U.S. work permit is approved.
Vieira had been linked with the Arsenal job after Arsene Wenger stepped down last month but will now return to his native France for his first coaching job in Europe.
“After two and a half years as head coach of NYCFC, today will be my last day,” Vieira wrote on Twitter. “I can honestly say that my time with the club has been absolutely perfect — both on the professional and personal level.”
Vieira led New York City to two consecutive playoff appearances and leaves with the team in second place in the Eastern Conference.
Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere said the team was looking for a coach with the “ability to continue to produce attractive football, to bring through youngsters by taking risks to help them grow, and someone who lives and breathes to win.”
As a player, Vieira also had stints at Juventus, Inter Milan and Manchester City, but is best known for spending nearly a decade at Arsenal and being a key part of Wenger’s title-winning teams. He was captain of the team that went undefeated in winning the 2003-04 Premier League title.
But as a coach he has only been part of the City Football Group — which owns both the Manchester and New York clubs. He started as a coach of Manchester City’s development squad before getting his first head coaching position in New York.
New York City FC said in a statement that assistant coach Christian Lattanzio, performance coach Kristian Wilson and physical performance coach Matt Cook were also leaving to join Vieira’s staff at Nice. The new staff additions will be announced soon.