Barcelona right-back Moussa Wague has joined Ligue 1 side Nice on loan until the end of the season with the view of a permanent move.

The 21-year-old made his LaLiga debut last April and was promoted to Barca's first-team squad ahead of the current campaign.

He has started a couple of league and Champions League matches in 2019-20, but Nice confirmed on Friday an agreement has been reached to sign the Senegal international.

Nice have the option to make the deal permanent at the end of the season for €10million, plus €500,000 in add-ons.

As part of the agreement, Barcelona have the right to trigger a €15m buy-back clause in Wague's contract up until June 2021.

Wague is the fourth player to leave Camp Nou on loan this month, along with Jean-Clair Todibo, Carles Perez and Carles Alena.

Meanwhile, the Spanish champions announced the signings of Brazilian midfielder Matheus Fernandes and Portuguese forward Francisco Trincao on deadline day, with both players officially arriving at the end of the season.

 

Barcelona signed Brazilian midfielder Matheus Fernandes and Portuguese forward Francisco Trincao on transfer deadline day, but both players must wait for their chance to shine at Camp Nou.

Fernandes will join Quique Setien's squad from Palmeiras in July after a €10million package was agreed for the 21-year-old, who has played for the Brazil Under-20 team.

Braga accepted a €31m offer from Barca for 20-year-old forward Trincao, and he will also formally join the Catalan club's ranks at the end of the season.

Both players have agreed five-year contracts, the Blaugrana announced, with Fernandes' contract including a €300m buy-out clause and Trincao's deal showing a €500m clause.

Braga will take Barca's 18-year-old striker Abel Ruiz on loan until the end of the season and then make the deal permanent for €8m, with the LaLiga club having a buy-back option.

Barca were not the only Spanish club busy in the market though, with Celta Vigo signing striker Fyodor Smolov on loan from Lokomotiv Moscow until the end of the season.

Atletico Madrid re-signed Belgian winger Yannick Carrasco, almost two years after he left to join Chinese side Dalian Yifang. The 26-year-old joined until the end of the season on loan.
 

STAYING PUT

Deadline day was as notable for the deals that looked to have fallen through as those that were completed.

Paris Saint-Germain ruled out allowing Edinson Cavani to leave, as a host of clubs fancied taking the Uruguayan off their hands, while Chelsea refused to let France striker Olivier Giroud depart Stamford Bridge.

Tottenham were among the clubs keen on Giroud, but Jose Mourinho looked like missing out on the striker he wanted to strengthen a front-line depleted by the loss of injured England captain Harry Kane.

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane said Gareth Bale would not be leaving the Santiago Bernabeu.

Manchester United remained linked with Bournemouth forward Joshua King, but time was running out for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to add new faces to his Old Trafford squad.

United made one signing, but it was a low-profile deal as England Under-20 goalkeeper Nathan Bishop arrived from third-tier Southend United.

Arsenal brought in defender Cedric Soares on loan from Southampton.

In Scotland, champions Celtic shipped out Scotland international Lewis Morgan to Major League Soccer side Inter Miami, who are part-owned by David Beckham.

Belgian side Genk allowed attacking midfielder Ianis Hagi, son of Romanian great Gheorghe Hagi, to join Scottish giants Rangers on loan.
 

KOUAME, DUNCAN IN

Serie A transfer activity was dominated by Fiorentina, who signed Ivorian forward Christian Kouame from Genoa, initially on loan. The deal will be made permanent at the end of the season.

They also brought in Ghanaian midfielder Alfred Duncan from Sassuolo in a similar deal, a loan with an obligation to buy.

Reports in Italy said Kevin-Prince Boateng was set to leave Fiorentina among the incomings, with Besiktas his destination. Turkish giants Besiktas also snapped up 18-year-old Croatian midfielder Ajdin Hasic from Dinamo Zagreb on permanent terms.

Atalanta agreed a loan deal with Nice, acquiring defender Adrien Tameze from the Ligue 1 outfit with a purchase option.

World Cup winner Steven Nzonzi cut short a season-long loan from Roma to Galatasaray, returning to his French homeland with Rennes on a six-month loan with an option for a further year.
 

HERTHA BUSY

In the Bundesliga, Emre Can left Juventus for Borussia Dortmund on Friday evening, initially on loan until the end of the campaign but with a €25m fee agreed for a potential permanent transfer.

Elsewhere, Hertha Berlin followed up Thursday's signing of Krzysztof Piatek by prising 20-year-old Brazilian winger Matheus Cunha from table-toppers RB Leipzig, for whom he scored nine goals in 52 games.

Hertha managing director Michael Preetz said on the club's website: "We wanted to increase the quantity and improve the quality up front, which we have been able to do with the Piatek and Cunha transfers."

Leipzig also offloaded Austrian midfielder Stefan Ilsanker to Eintracht Frankfurt. He spent four-and-a-half years at Leipzig, joining them in the second tier.

Werder Bremen signed striker Davie Selke on an 18-month loan from Hertha, the 25-year-old returning to the club where he began his professional career.

Patrick Vieira insists there was never any chance of him replacing Unai Emery at Arsenal as he and Nice are "100 per cent" committed to one another.

Former Arsenal captain Vieira has been linked with the Gunners job since Arsene Wenger's departure in 2018, but Mikel Arteta instead took over after Emery was sacked in November.

The Frenchman says there were no talks with Arsenal on this occasion, although the Nice coach is adamant he would have turned down any offer regardless.

"No, but there is no place in my mind to have those kind of conversations," Vieira told the Daily Mail. "My focus is here [at Nice]. This project suits who I am and what I want to achieve.

"This rumour about the Arsenal job is not something that bothered me. I don't know what the future holds but that is why I don't want to put my brain somewhere that doesn't exist.

"This club knows I want to stay and I know they want me to stay, 100 per cent."

However, Vieira said he discussed the possibility of taking over from Wenger before he became Nice coach.

"It was just a conversation about my situation, where I am, what is the next step," he said. "Nothing came of it."

Vieira moved to Nice from New York City in June 2018 and found former Manchester City team-mate Mario Balotelli in his squad in France.

The Italy international, having starred at Nice prior to Vieira's arrival, failed to score under the new coach and departed for Marseille in the next transfer window.

Vieira added of Balotelli: "Mario's mindset was difficult for a collective sport.

"The philosophy I wanted to put in place, the togetherness and work ethic I wanted to build, it was difficult for me to work with a player like Mario.

"It was really difficult for both of us to work together, so we decided to go different ways."

Nice boss Patrick Vieira denied holding talks with Arsenal prior to Mikel Arteta's appointment as head coach.

Arteta officially began work at Emirates Stadium on Sunday after agreeing a three-and-a-half-year deal to succeed Unai Emery.

Arsenal head of football Raul Sanllehi said he and technical director Edu spoke to "several top-class candidates," one of which was rumoured to be Vieira.

Former Gunners captain Vieira was linked with the role throughout the recruitment process but, in an interview with Canal Football Club, claimed there was no substance to the speculation.

Asked if he had been contacted, Vieira – who has also been linked to David Beckham's MLS franchise Inter Miami – said: "No. It's flattering seeing your name everywhere but I am under contract with Nice.

"I have known since I arrived how lucky I am to be involved with this club's project.

"I don't have any intention or desire to go and look elsewhere."

Nice finished seventh in their first season under Vieira and sit 10th in Ligue 1 at the halfway mark this term.

The 1998 World Cup winner said qualifying for Europe was part of his long-term plan for the club.

"The objective is to play in the Champions League one day, but it will take time," he said.

Paul Pogba remains on the sideline but not the outer at Manchester United.

The rumoured Real Madrid target reportedly hopes to leave Old Trafford in January after missing out on a move before the season started.

But it seems the Red Devils will resist all interest in their record signing when the transfer window opens.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED BLOCK POGBA'S EXIT PATH

Five months after Mino Raiola confirmed his client's desire to depart, United remain resolute in their determination to keep star midfielder Pogba.

The 26-year-old failed to engineer a close-season exit and the Red Devils will again stand in the former Juventus star's way if he asks for a move in January, reports the Daily Mail.

Pogba has not played since September due to an ankle injury and will miss Wednesday's EFL Cup quarter-final against Colchester United because of illness.

LaLiga leaders Barcelona and Serie A champions Juve, where he spent four seasons, have been linked with Pogba since his return to United, while Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane is known to admire the World Cup winner.

ROUND-UP

- Mikel Arteta is on the verge of taking charge at Arsenal and plans to appoint fellow Manchester City assistant Rodolfo Borrell as his number two in north London, reports the Mirror.

- Though the Gunners are in talks with Arteta, The Athletic claims Arsenal's former captain, Nice boss Patrick Vieira, remains an outside chance to win the job.

- Has Jerome Boateng played his final game for Bayern Munich? Suddeutsche Zeitung suggests the centre-back's agent Fali Ramadani recently met with Hasan Salihamidzic to discuss a January transfer, though the prospect of a mid-season move is complicated by Bayern's injuries at the back. 

- In brighter news for the Bundesliga giants, Bild says Leroy Sane has decided he wants to join Bayern in January. The Manchester City star was heavily linked with a switch from the Premier League to his native Germany prior to suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

- Diego Simeone wants to strengthen Atletico Madrid's defence with the signing of AC Milan captain Alessio Romagnoli, according to CalcioMercato.

- Chelsea could be left frustrated in their pursuit of Wilfried Zaha. The Daily Mail claims Crystal Palace will not budge on their £80million valuation of the 27-year-old winger.

Patrick Vieira dismissed talk about the Arsenal vacancy as the Nice head coach insisted he is "300 per cent" focused on the Ligue 1 side.

Former Arsenal captain Vieira has emerged as a candidate to replace Unai Emery, who was sacked by the struggling Premier League club last week.

But Vieira – a three-time Premier League champion with Arsenal – played down the speculation ahead of Nice's Ligue 1 clash against Metz on Saturday.

"I don't have any comments," Vieira told reporters. "Sincerely. It's a question I don't have to answer.

"Sincerely, I am 100 per cent focused on what I have to do here. And I think I have a lot of things to do here. And I don't want to spread myself over anything.

"I am 300 per cent focused on how I can try to find solutions to be more constant, to win more games. Find solutions to get the best of my players. I want to put my energy and my concentration only on that."

Nice are 14th in Ligue 1 this season, five points above the relegation play-off spot following just one win in four matches.

Vieira said: "I communicate a lot with Julien [Fournier, football director], with the president [Jean-Pierre Rivere] and with Mr. Ratcliffe [owner]. I have their support. 

"We talk, we discuss. The goal is to find solutions, to improve. I have never felt the slightest doubt about their attitude to my work. It's reassuring."

Patrick Vieira played down talk he could take over at Arsenal as the Nice coach labelled it a "very complicated job".

Unai Emery was sacked as Arsenal head coach on Friday amid a seven-match winless run for the Premier League club.

Vieira – an Arsenal great – has been one of the names mentioned to potentially take charge at the Emirates Stadium, but the Nice coach played down the reports.

"There are things I don't control, people who say a lot of stuff, which is true or not true," he told a news conference after Nice's 3-1 Ligue 1 win over Angers on Saturday.

"I didn't say anything, I didn't say anything about that. I'm like you, I read, I look, I hear things, and that's it."

Vieira, whose Nice side are 11th in Ligue 1, said the position at Arsenal shaped as a tough one for Emery's successor.

"It's a very complicated job, I realise that," he said. "I support Emery, it's always sad to see a coach losing his job.

"Today it's him, tomorrow it might be me, but as soon as you decide to start in this job, you have to expect to be fired at some point."

Vieira spent nine seasons at Arsenal as a player, winning three Premier League titles and three FA Cups.

His former team-mate, Freddie Ljungberg, is the interim coach of Arsenal, who visit Norwich City on Sunday.

Kai Havertz is reportedly wanted by seven of Europe's biggest clubs.

The Germany and Bayer Leverkusen midfielder has impressed in the Bundesliga, sparking interest from numerous clubs.

Havertz, 20, is contracted at Leverkusen until 2022, but that does not seem to be stopping Europe's best and biggest.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA, MADRID AMONG SEVEN CLUBS WHO WANT HAVERTZ

LaLiga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid are two of seven clubs who want Kai Havertz, according to Sport Bild.

Bayern Munich, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United are the other clubs interested in Havertz.

Havertz made his senior debut at Leverkusen in 2016 and has already amassed 121 appearances for the club.

ROUND-UP

- Talks between Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Milan are continuing. Sport Mediaset reports the striker wants €3million net until June, while Milan are offering €2m, with Ibrahimovic hoping to arrive at his next club by mid-December.

- Arsenal have started looking at potential replacements for under-fire head coach Unai Emery, according to The Daily Telegraph. Emery is under pressure after a run of six games without a win at Arsenal. Mauricio Pochettino, Massimiliano Allegri and Nuno Espirito Santo are reported candidates.

- Edinson Cavani is out of contract at Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season and the Uruguayan could be set for an MLS move. Cavani's representatives met with LA Galaxy last week regarding a potential switch, according to Le10Sport.

- Arsenal and Lyon are interested in Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti, reports Tuttomercatoweb. The 26-year-old France international has made just three LaLiga appearances this season after dealing with injuries.

- Out of contract at the end of the season, Jan Vertonghen is keen to discuss a new deal with Tottenham, according to Sky Sports News. The centre-back is reportedly a target for Roma and Bayer Leverkusen.

- Inter Miami are still eyeing their first coach ahead of their inaugural MLS season in 2020. The Telegraph reports David Beckham is lining up Nice boss Patrick Vieira.

Keeping faith with the under-fire Unai Emery could have serious ramifications for Arsenal.

According to reports, club chiefs fear key players will question their long-term futures if Emery remains in charge.

Two star attackers are already said to be stalling on new deals with Arsenal sliding down the Premier League.

 

TOP STORY – GUNNERS FEAR EXODUS

Arsenal are at risk of losing Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, according to the Daily Mail.

The newspaper reports the pair have shown little interest in signing contract extensions as a direct consequence of poor results and concerns over Emery's "conservative" methods.

Arsenal have failed to win any of their past six games in all competitions and are facing the prospect of another season outside the Champions League, a problem for the likes of Lacazette and Aubameyang.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marco Silva's position at Everton is in peril but he could remain in charge until after the Merseyside derby on December 4, according to the Daily Mail. The Toffees lie 16th in the Premier League following a 2-0 home loss to Norwich City.

- Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores is likewise feeling the pinch. The Telegraph reports the Spaniard is "on the brink" of becoming the club's second managerial casualty of the season.

- Manchester United are set to trigger a 12-month extension to Timothy Fosu-Mensah's contract, claims The Sun. The Dutch defender is due to become a free agent at the end of the season.

- New MLS franchise Inter Miami are discussing the possibility of making Patrick Vieira their inaugural head coach, says CBS Sports reporter Roger Gonzalez. Vieira is currently in charge of Ligue 1 club Nice.

- Serie A side Roma are tracking Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham, according to Tuttomercatoweb. The French midfielder scored a vital Europa League goal against Lazio earlier this month and could be the subject of a January transfer bid from their Serie A rivals.

VAR controversy, Leicester City's swashbuckling style, Liverpool's unrelenting charge to the title – these are all among the most prominent themes of the opening months of the 2019-20 Premier League season.

But arguably trumping all of them in terms of column inches has been Chelsea's use of young players, with Frank Lampard's return to the club as head coach coinciding with a new-found desire to bring youngsters into the first-team.

Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Christian Pulisic have all featured regularly, while Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James have recently returned from serious injuries.

Eden Hazard, Graeme Le Saux, Sean Dyche, Roy Hodgson and Petr Cech are just a few of the army of people to lavish Chelsea and Lampard with praise for this philosophy.

Although it is difficult not to be cynical of Lampard's insistence that he would have had the same approach even if Chelsea were not banned from signing new players, the fact remains they are giving young players a chance.

But how does their use of under-23 players compare to the rest of the teams in Europe's top five leagues?

PREMIER LEAGUE

It might surprise supporters to learn that among Premier League clubs, Chelsea don't lead the way for appearances (60), minutes (4,164) or assists (8) for players who were under 23 on matchday.

Manchester United have racked up the highest number of matches for players younger than 23 (84), one more than Leicester. The next highest is Bournemouth (67), while Arsenal and Norwich City are also ahead of Chelsea.

As such, United have given 5,801 minutes of Premier League football to young players, though Leicester lead the way with 6,164 and are also on top in terms of assists (15).

Chelsea's 20 goals from qualifying players is a division high, however, four more than United. Leicester are the third and final side to reach double figures.

And the Blues' average starting XI age of 25 years and 115 days is among the youngest, though Bournemouth are ahead on that front (25y 88d).

LALIGA

In Spain's top flight, only Real Sociedad (84) and Real Mallorca (68) have given more matches to young players than Chelsea. They're also the only clubs to accumulate more minutes played by youngsters than the Blues (5,341 and 5,944, respectively).

La Real also top the charts for goals (10), assists (8) and average starting XI age (25y 235d) in Spain, though none of those records better Chelsea's.

Therefore, it's fair to say LaLiga, renowned for its development of young players, is lagging behind Premier League in that regard at the moment.

SERIE A

Chelsea's 60 appearances by young players would put them fourth on those terms in Serie A, with Fiorentina (79), Genoa and AC Milan (both 72) out in front.

Those three have also given more minutes to under-23s, with Fiorentina (5,837) setting the bar again.

Genoa have had 11 goals set up by under-23 players, three more than Chelsea, while Milan's average starting XI age (24y 203d) is much lower than Lampard's men.

But in each of those two parameters, Chelsea would be second in the chart. They would lead for goals from under-23s, with Fiorentina top in Italy on 10.

BUNDESLIGA

RB Leipzig (80), Mainz, Schalke (both 70) and Borussia Monchengladbach (63) have been the most open to playing under-23s in the Bundesliga

Similarly, all four clubs have seen those players feature in more than 4,500 minutes this season – Leipzig unsurprisingly leading the way with 5,259.

Leipzig are also Chelsea's closest challengers in terms of goals. Their record of 17 may be slightly less than the Blues, but their 11-assist haul - level with Gladbach - takes them to 28 involvements, exactly the same as Lampard's side.

Julian Nagelsmann's Leipzig are also the youngest side in the Bundesliga, with their starting XI's average age just 24 years and 340 days. Mainz (25y 38d) are the only other top-flight German club to beat Chelsea in this regard.

LIGUE 1

France's Ligue 1 is by far the most accessible of the five major leagues for young players, with a total of 1,360 appearances from under-23 players across the 20 clubs, an average of 68 per team.

In comparison, the Premier League (871) averages 43.55 appearances per club and the Bundesliga's 18 sides afford under-23s 45.28 outings (815 total).

Nice make up the biggest share of the Ligue 1 appearances with a massive 121, but Lille (116), Lyon (99), Reims (96), Nimes (83), Toulouse (82), Rennes, Bordeaux (both 75), Metz (74), Monaco, Dijon (both 65) and Strasbourg (62) have all allowed youngsters to play more than 60 matches.

Of course, a key element of this is the lack of funds at many of these clubs and French football in general with the exception of Paris Saint-Germain, who, perhaps unsurprisingly, have entrusted the fewest games (30) to under-23 players in the division.

Nevertheless, only Nice (24y 41d), Lille (24y 111d) and Lyon (24y 288d) have a younger starting line-up on average than Lampard's Chelsea.

Former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira insists Unai Emery deserves to be given time to turn around the Gunners' recent fortunes.

Pressure is mounting on Emery following last Saturday's 2-0 Premier League defeat away to high-flying Leicester City.

Arsenal are already eight points adrift of the top four after 12 matches and have won only once in their past seven games in all competitions.

While it is believed the club hierarchy remain behind Emery, who was appointed as Arsene Wenger's successor after the 2017-18 season, there is a growing discontent among Arsenal supporters who think a change is essential to save their season.

Vieira, a three-time Premier League champion in a glittering Arsenal career, says now is the time to unite behind the under-fire former Paris Saint-Germain boss.

"It's true Arsenal are going through a tough spell," he told reporters on Monday. "But I haven't watched all their matches, so I can't talk about their game.

"They have a coach who is qualified who works well. When a club is having a difficult time, it's important to be united. I think he has enough experience to get them through this difficult spell.

"We have to get behind him and give him time to change things. I am not sure a change of manager will fix the problems."

Wenger, meanwhile, has lately been tipped to make a first return to management since leaving Emirates Stadium.

The 70-year-old told beIN SPORTS last week that he would be holding talks with Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge over the prospect of succeeding Niko Kovac, but he then clarified on Monday that he was not in the running for the job.

Nice head coach Vieira still hopes to see his old manager make a return to the dugout, saying: "I would like to see him coaching again.

"Arsene has a big passion [for football]. I have never met another coach who spends more time watching football games, analysing their opponent's matches, talking about football.

"It's his passion, it's his life. So, I hope he can find another club to coach. It didn't work out with Bayern Munich; maybe it will work out with another team."

Juventus are set to have money to splash at the end of the season.

Eight-time reigning Serie A champions Juve are repeating the rewards of their domestic dominance.

And it could see some of Europe's elite join Cristiano Ronaldo in Turin.

 

TOP STORY - JUVENTUS REACH FOR THE STARS

Juventus are eyeing a blockbuster signing, with Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Paul Pogba the targets, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

Italian champions Juve are reportedly set to announce an increase of capital by €300million as they establish their position among Europe's elite clubs.

PSG's superstar pair Mbappe and Neymar fit the profile of a future eye-catching signing, as well as Manchester United's former Juve midfielder Pogba, Gazzetta says.

The report also mentions Borussia Dortmund sensation Jadon Sancho, Atletico Madrid's Joao Felix and Tottenham forward Son Heung-min.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester Evening News reports Manchester United are confident about signing James Maddison from Leicester City. After splashing out a world-record fee for a defender to lure Harry Maguire from Leicester, United are said to have their eyes on another Foxes star as they look to add quality in the attacking third.

Real Madrid are considering a move for AC Milan full-back David Calabria, according to Fichajes.net. The alternatives would be RB Leipzig's Lukas Klostermann and Youcef Atal from Nice as Madrid reportedly look to replace Alvaro Odriozola.

West Ham and Wolves are eyeing January moves for Milan star Suso, says The Sun. The former Liverpool attacker was wanted by Roma during the previous window.

- Soccer Link says Paris Saint-Germain are monitoring Chelsea defender Tariq Lamptey and plan to sign him at the end of the season. The 19-year-old's contract expires at the end of the campaign.

Arsenal will have to spend £30.1million (€35m) if they want to make Dani Ceballos' loan deal from Real Madrid permanent, according to El Desmarque.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich rejected an offer from a Middle East-based consortium to buy the Premier League club, The Daily Telegraph reports.

- The Guardian says Manchester City are stepping up their pursuit to sign in-demand Napoli star Fabian Ruiz. Fabian is also being targeted by Barcelona and Madrid.

Nice coach Patrick Vieira said he did not understand the referee's decision to send off Wylan Cyprien in their 4-1 defeat to leader's Paris Saint-Germain.  

PSG moved five points clear at the top of Ligue 1 with the win in the Riviera, but a controversial second yellow card shown to Cyprien for dissent turned the momentum of the game.

Kylian Mbappe was then introduced for the final seven minutes on his return from a hamstring injury, as he scored and assisted to secure the points for PSG.

Vieira said he had spoken to the officials after the game but was no clearer on Cyprien's dismissal off, the first of two red cards in three minutes.

"The second yellow for Cyprien? I still do not understand the explanations of the referee," he told reporters.

"Wylan did not insult or disrespect the referee. I find it very severe and unfair.

"It is a half gesture of mood as one sees in all matches. The red for (Christophe) Herelle I can understand a little more.

"We came up against a team that was much better than ours, but that does not detract from the talent there is in our team."

Nice remain in mid-table and six points off second-place Nantes.

PSG head coach Thomas Tuchel will ensure lessons are learned from their second-half performance after a 4-1 win over Nice on Friday.

Angel Di Maria gave Les Parisiens a two-goal lead on the south coast of France, but Nice mounted a second-half comeback when Ignatius Ganago pulled a goal back.

The home team was reduced to nine men with two red cards in three minutes before Kylian Mbappe's introduction helped seal the win as he came on to score and assist late on.

Tuchel said after the game that his team lacked precision and determination in the second half but was happy to come back from the international break with three points.

"At the beginning of the second period we forgot to close out the match," he told reporters.

"Nice played with another system, took more risks and we made easy mistake just before the (Ganago's) goal. Then after the two red's the match was decided.

"It may be a good lesson for us, as we also lost control against Galatasaray after our goal.

"At the start of a six game, intense series of games it's always good to start with a win and we had a very good first half."

Nice had started the second half brightly but a second yellow card to Wylan Cyprien shown for dissent turned the momentum back in PSG's favour at the Allianz Riviera.

"I received a charge that was not whistled and in frustration, I asked the referee with a slight gesture if there was no fault," Cyprien said.

"He shows me a second yellow card explaining that my gesture is too vehement, even though I told him I didn't disrespect or insult him.

"His decision had a major impact and I'm not sure if we would have equalised but he could have been more thoughtful. I think it's severe."

Kylian Mbappe scored one and set up another on his return to action as Paris Saint-Germain claimed a 4-1 win against Nice, who finished Friday's Ligue 1 match with nine men.

The France forward, who sat out the international break due to a hamstring issue, replaced Pablo Sarabia in the 83rd minute at Allianz Riviera and helped kill off the game after the hosts threatened a comeback.

Ignatius Ganago pulled one back for Nice with 23 minutes to play following Angel Di Maria's first-half brace, but their momentum was disrupted by red cards for Wylan Cyprien and Christophe Herelle in quick succession.

Mbappe then marked his comeback with PSG's third and set up Mauro Icardi for a fourth, sending his five points clear of closest challengers Nantes at the summit.

Nice have failed to keep a clean sheet in the league this term and would have been behind inside three minutes if not for Walter Benitez's quickfire triple save.

But Di Maria made no mistake when played in behind by Mauro Icardi with 15 minutes gone, the former Real Madrid man curling the ball into the far corner.

Di Maria's second arrived six minutes later as he latched onto Thomas Meunier's pass and lifted an exquisite finish over Benitez with a first-time lob from a tight angle.

Marquinhos was denied by the crossbar early in the second half and Nice were back in the match when Ganago drilled in off the underside of the bar.

Cyprien was shown a second yellow card for dissent and Herelle was also dismissed three minutes later – following a VAR review – for brushing Leandro Paredes' face with his hand.

Late substitute Mbappe made Nice pay, squeezing a right-footed effort home from inside the box in the 88th minute.

Mbappe then turned provider, picking out Icardi for a simple finish on the breakaway in stoppage time.

 

What does it mean? PSG power on without Neymar

Neymar is expected to miss around a month after sustaining a hamstring injury on Brazil duty, while impressive midfielder Idrissa Gueye was also ruled out of this match.

However, PSG, even with Edinson Cavani an unused substitute, showed no signs of slowing down in their pursuit of a third successive Ligue 1 title - helped in no small part by Mbappe's return.

Di Maria steps up once again

Di Maria again showed why he has been one of PSG's most reliant performers this year. His first-half brace means he has been involved in 20 Ligue 1 goals in 2019 - only the returning Mbappe (28) has contributed to more.

Marquinhos bailed out

Marquinhos was brought on for Thiago Silva at half-time and it was his error that gifted Nice their temporary route back into the game. The defender slipped when attempting to control a cross, allowing Kasper Dolberg to set up Ganago for what turned out to be just a consolation goal.

What's next?

PSG travel to Club Brugge in the Champions League in midweek, while Nice have an eight-day break before making the trip to Strasbourg for their next outing.

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