Amid reports that Patrick Vieira accepted a position in France’s top-tier league, the New York City FC coach put his team through an energetic training session ahead of a match Friday night in Houston.
Following the morning session, Vieira denied there is a signed contract or even negotiations for him to coach Ligue 1 side OGC Nice, as reported Tuesday by French sports daily L’Equipe. The newspaper said Vieira reached an agreement on a two-year contract with Nice to succeed Lucien Favre, who is set to take charge at Borussia Dortmund next season.
“It makes me smile because, of course, there is no contract signed or anything like that,” Vieira said Tuesday. “This is the wrong information.”
Nice officials have reached out to Vieira and his agent Bruno Satin, a source confirmed to Pro Soccer USA, but Vieira said there are no ongoing talks.
“That I can tell you,” said Vieira, who started his professional playing career at Cannes in France. “There’s not a representative of anybody talking to anybody here.”
The L’Equipe report suggested Vieira flew to France on Monday with Satin to complete the deal with Nice. Vieira said he was in France on Monday but on a personal family matter – not to finalize an accord.
“My head, my focus and my energy are here,” Vieira said. “I’m focusing and concentrating about our next game. We are in a really good period and I don’t want my players, my staff or anyone in this football club to be distracted by what’s going on.”
The potential for disruptions have been numerous this spring, with Arsene Wenger’s endorsement of Vieira to succeed him at Arsenal at the top of the list of commotions. Though Vieira has said he feels ready to coach at any level, including in Europe, he’s maintained his focus on NYCFC. He also said he is not concerned any recent rumors or reports will interrupt his players’ preparation.
“The players can go on social media, they’re going to do things,” Vieira said. “I don’t need to say anything. When they come into training, they will see my commitment, my energy and my desire to prepare the game. These are the things I can control. There is no point to talk to them because there is nothing to say.
“I have a fantastic relationship with the people in this football club. We’ve always been clear to each other, and for me this is the most important. The other things — I let people do what they need to do and say what they need to say.”