Combined Nice XI featuring current and former PL stars; including £24m Manchester United flop and Italian striker

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A season-long loan move for Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe continues. Fabrizio Romano.

The Ivory Coast international made a club-record £72m move from Lille to the Emirates three years ago.

The 27-year-old has not featured in any of the Gunners’ three Premier League games so far this season and was not part of Mikel Arteta’s matchday squad in Saturday’s 3-0 win at Bournemouth.

Photo by Stuart McFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

A return to Ligue 1 where Pepe rose to fame and caught the attention of Arsenal is perhaps the best move for him to resurrect a stagnant career.

Nice have signed two players with plenty of Premier League experience to their name this summer – Kasper Schmeichel and Aaron Ramsey.

With Lucien Favre’s side having some familiar faces in their ranks, HITC Sport have assembled a combined Nice XI featuring current and former Premier League stars.

A combined Nice XI featuring current and former Premier League stars

A combined Nice XI featuring current and former Premier League stars

GK – Kasper Schmeichel – Great

After 11 years and 479 appearances for Leicester City, the great Dane decided to take on a new challenge and leave the King Power Stadium after winning the Premier League and the FA Cup.

RB – Romain Peraud – Southampton

The former France Under-20 international made four first-team appearances for Nice before joining Brest in 2019.

Peraud was signed by Saints last summer after impressing in his second season at Stade Francis-Le Blay, but has played just 18 minutes of Southampton’s three Premier League games so far this season.

CB – Nampalis Mandy – Leicester City

In the same summer (2016) Fox sold N’Golo Kante to Chelsea, Claudio Ranieri signed Mendy from Nice, but the following summer Mendy returned to Allianz Riviera on a season-long loan.

The 17-time Senegal international has struggled to establish himself as a regular under Brendan Rodgers and has been an unused substitute in all three top-flight matches so far this season.

Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images

CB – Mario Lemina – Nice

Southampton signed the Gabon international from Serie A giants Juventus five years ago for a club record deal worth up to £18.1m.

The 28-year-old made 52 appearances for Saints and spent the 2020-21 campaign on loan at Fulham before joining Nice last summer.

LB – Hassane Kamara – Watford

The Ivory Coast international only moved from Nice to Vicarage Road in January, but has been named the Hornets’ player of the year.

CM – Morgan Schneiderlin – Great

After impressing under Ronald Koeman at St Mary’s Stadium, Manchester United spent £24m to bring the Frenchman to Old Trafford.

After a tumultuous 18 months at the Theater of Dreams, Schneiderlin moved to Everton where he stayed for three and a half years before joining Nice in 2020.

Catherine Evil – Photo by AMA/Getty Images

Chief Minister – Aaron Ramsay – Great

The former Arsenal man’s contract was terminated by Juventus this summer and the Wales legend opted to join Nice.

The 31-year-old scored on his Nice debut and will be hoping to maintain his form and fitness with the Ligue 1 side ahead of this winter’s World Cup.

RW – Benarhama said – West Ham United

The Algerian international made 18 first-team appearances for Nice before joining Brentford in the summer of 2018.

With 30 goals and 27 assists in 94 appearances for the Bees, West Ham signed Benerham in a deal that could rise to £30m.

LW – Alain Saint-Maximin – Newcastle United

The Magpies paid Nice £16.5m to sign the Frenchman three years ago and the 25-year-old has scored 12 goals and provided 18 assists since arriving at St James’ Park.

Photo by Robert Smith/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

ST – Neil Maupe – Brighton & Hove Albion

The 26-year-old scored nine goals for Nice before signing for Saint-Etienne, but like Benarhamma, Maupe’s performances with Brentford have attracted Premier League players.

After scoring 41 goals in 95 games for the West London side, Graham Potter’s Seagulls came calling.

Fulham are leading the race to sign the Frenchman this summer, but Nottingham Forest and Everton are also interested, according to The Athletic.

ST – Mario Balotelli – Adana Demirspor

After spells in the Premier League with Manchester City and Liverpool, the former Inter Milan and AC Milan striker joined Nice on a free transfer in 2016 and played under Patrick Vieira.

However, Balotelli showed his best form for Nice under Favre, scoring 43 goals in 66 games.

Italy’s international team is currently playing in Turkey.

In other news, Klopp axes ‘crazy’ player, 2 injured stars return – possible Liverpool XI vs Man United

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