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Nice and Seri refocus after tumultuous transfer window to leave Monaco bruised

Nice had a dire start to the season – including home and away Champions League defeats by Napoli – but they got back on track in style in their local derby

By Adam White and Eric Devin for Get French Football News

As the Champions League anthem blared at the Stadio San Paolo a month ago, a broad grin spread over Allan Saint-Maximin’s face. “In this moment, I was my younger self,” explained Nice’s new winger. “When I was small I played football on the beaches of French Guyana and I would sing the Champions League anthem.” Nice, seemingly, had reached their promised land. After some shrewd coaching and astute transfer business, a stunning 2016-17 campaign had brought them to the brink of the Champions League proper.

However, after an early season collapse in Ligue 1 and a difficult transfer window, it seemed as if Nice, like Saint-Maximin, were merely dreaming of a Champions League future. They will not be competing in the group stage this week, having been outclassed by Napoli over two legs in the final qualifying round. But their 4-0 routing of champions Monaco in the Cote d’Azur derby this weekend suggests, with Jean Michaël Seri orchestrating proceedings once more, that last season’s third-place finish was no fluke.

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