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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Patrick Vieira can't rule out NYCFC exit amid links to Nice job

NYCFC's Patrick Vieira denies reports he's close to becoming manager of Nice, but Julien Laurens says Nice officials are singing a different tune.

New York City FC coach Patrick Vieira said "we will see" and would not rule out an exit when asked by MLSsoccer.com about increasing reports in France that he is set to take over Ligue 1 club Nice.

SFR Sport's Loic Tanzi reported via RMC on Thursday that Vieira had agreed a three-year contract with Nice, with only minor details such as his assistant coaches and the date of the announcement still to be decided.

Reports have been mounting for weeks that Vieira, a former France international, was ready to return to Europe with Nice, though he had always previously denied links to the job.

But he changed his tune on Thursday when asked if he would still be NYCFC coach after Saturday's top-of-the-table MLS showdown with Atlanta United.

"We will see. My head is really into that game on Saturday. It is a massive one," Vieira told MLSsoccer.com. "We're going to play, I believe, against, I have to say one of the best, if not the best team in this league. We want to win that game and I want players, myself, the football club to focus on that game.

"We're going to have a break after that and it will be important for us to win that game because we will be in front of them and that will be really important for us."

MLS takes a break for the World Cup after this weekend's games, and NYCFC does not resume until June 24, giving Vieira plenty of time to negotiate and sign a contract with Nice.

Vieira, who watched his team crash out of the U.S. Open Cup in a 4-0 defeat to the rival New York Red Bulls on Wednesday night, acknowledged he's been busy and would not look past Saturday's game.

"I will be honest with you. I have so many things on my plate," Vieira said after training Thursday. "We lost a big game because I really wanted to go as far and at least pass this first round that we didn't do.

"We have a massive game, I would say, maybe one of the most important games so far in the season against Atlanta. My priority and what I really want is to put my head into that game because it is a big game for us."

A former star at Arsenal, Vieira took over NYCFC in its second season in MLS in 2016 and in both seasons since has led the team to second-place Eastern Conference finishes, only to lose at the first hurdle in the playoffs.

Also on Thursday, NYCFC announced that midfielder Yangel Herrera would miss the remainder of the season after undergoing arthroscopic ankle surgery

Herrera, a Venezuela international on loan from sibling club Manchester City, said in April he was ready to move to Europe.

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