Ross Barkley’s move to French club Nice came out of the blue earlier this month.
The 28-year-old became a free agent at the end of August after leaving Chelsea by mutual consent.
Barkley hadn’t played since the final day of last season and didn’t appear to be in Thomas Tuchel’s plans before the German coach was sacked.
“We would like to thank Ross for his contribution to Chelsea and wish him well for the rest of his career,” Chelsea said in a statement on their website.
Ross Barkley joined Nice after leaving Chelsea
Days later Barkley was unveiled by Nice, who finished fifth in Ligue 1 last season, in front of the club’s supporters.
Ross Barkley is officially unveiled as a new OGC Nice player after joining the Ligue 1 side on a free transfer 🤝 pic.twitter.com/sjpph6U3hI— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) September 4, 2022
He joined former Premier League players Kasper Schmeichel, Morgan Schneiderlin, Joe Bryan (on loan from Fulham), Aaron Ramsey and Nicolas Pepe (on loan from Arsenal) at the Allianz Riviera.
Barkley, who first burst onto the scene with boyhood club Everton in the early-2010s, was quoted saying by Get Football News France, per the Daily Mail: “Nice is an ambitious club. They presented me with a project over multiple years. It is a club that wants to go far, that wants to be a big club at a European level.
“I managed to speak with Dave Brailsford, who showed me the growth project at the club. Jim Ratcliffe also convinced me to come here to help the team progress.
“I was also convinced by the coach, who is a big European-level coach, and who plays an attacking style of football. I have seen his former sides play and it’s something that guided my choice.”
Ross Barkley (28) presented to Nice fans at the Allianz Riviera! pic.twitter.com/AIKvW0JGct— Get French Football News (@GFFN) September 4, 2022
However, Barkley’s heart must have sank a little when Nice manager Lucien Favre indicated in a press conference that he didn’t know his best position.
“In your mind, is he [Barkley] more of a six, more of an eight…?” one journalist asked, per the Daily Mail.
“I’m told he’s more of an eight,” Favre replied.
Ross Barkley already making positive impact at Nice
Barkley made his Nice debut days later, replacing Andy Delort in the final 20 minutes against Ajaccio.
It was enough time for the former England midfielder to make a positive impression.
He hit the post with only his second touch for his new employers and creating more chances (three) than any of his teammates managed all game.
🏴 Ross Barkley created more chances (3) than any other OGC Nice player managed all game against AC Ajaccio. Ross Barkley only played 19 minutes against Ajaccio.— Mozo Football (@MozoFootball) September 13, 2022
Ross has arrived. #OGCNice #OGCN pic.twitter.com/7fP3wPCXBA
Video: Ross Barley’s Nice highlights vs Ajaccio
You can watch his highlights from that game here:
Nice fans’ reaction to Ross Barkley’s debut
Per The Sun, Nice fans had plenty of positive things to say abut their new signing.
One supporter called his performance “elegant” while another said: “He brought a lot of movement and solutions. An English mentality will do us good.”
Another fan tweeted: “This creative midfielder is the one we’ve been waiting for.”
And another supporter said: “Let’s hope he’s the midfielder we’re missing and regains his levels. I thought he made a very good entrance.”
👀 Ross Barkley registered as many key passes on his Nice debut at the weekend (3 in 19 minutes) as Kai Havertz has managed for Chelsea this season (3 in 519 minutes) pic.twitter.com/JWHDSOA1nm— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) September 13, 2022
How did Ross Barkley perform on second Nice appearance?
Barkley then made his second appearance again Angers at the weekend and while he was unable to prevent his side from losing 1-0 during his 25 minutes on the pitch, he still managed to make an impact.
This time he created four chances for his teammates, more than any other player for either team.
🏴 Ross Barkley created more chances (4) than any other player managed for either OGC Nice or Angers. Ross Barkley only played 26 minutes.— Mozo Football (@MozoFootball) September 18, 2022
He’ll be fine in France. #OGCN #OGCNSCO pic.twitter.com/bg8xaXePQB
🏴 Ross Barkley in 26 minutes against Angers:— Mozo Football (@MozoFootball) September 18, 2022
🔘88% Pass Accuracy
🔘1/1 Long Balls
🔘4 Chances Created
🔘1/1 Duels Won
🔥. #OGCN #OGCNice #OGCNSCO pic.twitter.com/E2q1lPlLeI
While it’s still very early days in his Nice career, the initial signs have certainly been positive.
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