As Jim Ratcliffe plots a bid for Man United, things are about to get weird. If you thought Wout Weghorst was a rogue signing, wait until you see the bunch of misfits he bought for Ligue 1 outfit, Nice. From drunken car chases to bulging brie bellies, welcome to the Ragtag Riviera...
Kasper Schmeichel, GK When the keeper joined Nice last summer, he declared it was "time for a new challenge". But by pre-season that was going pear-shaped... literally. He rocked up sporting a bulging brie-belly, missed team meetings, and was dropped to the bench. Not the best start to his career in France.
Ross Barkley, CM The one-time Everton prodigy has spent the past few years getting royally battered. On a night out in Liverpool, Ross got in a drunken row with a cabbie after spilling chips and refusing to pay his fare. Police eventually dragged him to an ATM to pay his bill.
Jean-Clair Todibo, CB In 2020, with fans banished from stadiums, Big Jean was caught on mic telling Erling Haaland to “go fuck your grandmother”. And this season he broke the Ligue 1 record for fastest red card when he was sent off after 9 seconds against Angers.
Mario Lemina, CM The midfielder was apparently bribed with money and cars to play for the Gabon national team. That backfired at the AFCON, when he and striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang snuck out for a drunken night and brought girls back to the team hotel at 5am. They were sent home in disgrace.
Andy Delort, ST The French journeyman and Wigan flop has a teardrop tattoo - though no murder cases against his name. He was arrested after a drunken car chase while playing for Montpellier, and told the gendarmes who nabbed him: "I don't give a fuck, I earn £135k-a-month."
Aaron Ramsey, RM The Welshman - whose rare goals mysteriously coincide with celebrity deaths - arrived in Nice after being laughed out of Juventus by fans. One punk masqueraded as an autograph-hunter and tricked the midfielder into signing a "contract termination".
Joe Bryan - LB Joe's dad is a heart surgeon who operated on the Bristol City manager's father. Fans claimed Bryan was only picked at Bristol as a thank you for the lifesaving op. He denied it, joking: "Hopefully, people will begin to see I’m quite good at football, perhaps."
Marcin Bulka, GK The former Chelsea keeper crashed a rented Lamborghini worth 200k during lockdown. He previously hit the headlines after revealing his old PSG teammate Angel Di Maria hates Man United so much he "changes the channel quickly" when something about them comes on.
Didier Digard, Manager The new caretaker boss left Middlesbrough because he couldn't understand Gordon Strachan: "I didn't understand what he was saying to me... he was talking nonsense." Digard explained. "We were very good before he came and then we couldn't stop losing."
David Brailsford, Sporting Director The former British Cycling boss is living in a caravan at the Nice training ground. Dave runs an infamously brutal regime, with allegations of "lies, bullying and harassment" at the cycling team. Sounds like just what they need!
Jim Ratcliffe, owner The tax exile was the UK's richest man 'til he moved to Monaco. He's under investigation for using charity money to build a ski school in an exclusive French resort. He claimed the £16mil centre was for "underprivileged kids", but it costs £25,000 to join.