Much-travelled Danish striker Nicki Bille Nielsen hopes a stint in France can turn his career around as it has for a number of his compatriots.
The 26-year-old completed his first training session with Evian TG on Tuesday, having joined fellow Danes Jesper Hansen, Jesper Juelsgard and his cousin Daniel Wass at the Ligue 1 club from Norway’s Rosenborg.
Nielsen has struggled to settle over the past four years since leaving Danish Superliga club FC Nordsjaelland for Villarreal, playing for four different clubs, but the bustling forward hopes France could provide the foundations for a career revival.
“I’m very happy and I’m very lucky to be here. I discussed the move with Daniel Wass and the other Danes, and we all agreed that [Evian] and I are made for each other,” Nielsen told the club’s website.
“It’s a new start for me and I think it’s the perfect place to play football and make the most of family life.”
Last season, Wass, Simon Kjaer (Lille), Mads Albaek (Reims) and Martin Braithwaite (Toulouse) impressed in Ligue 1, a league that is becoming a happy hunting ground for Danish footballers.
Ligue 1 has been a blessing for Kjaer’s career especially, with the 25-year-old defender playing 34 matches in the French top tier’s second-best defence.
It came after some up-and-down seasons with Wolfsburg in Germany and Roma in Italy but Kjaer looks to be finally fulfilling his potential with some of Europe’s biggest clubs reportedly tracking the Denmark international.
Nielsen needs something similar after a couple of loan stints in Spain, before a strong season-and-a-half in Norway, where he scored 24 goals in 49 appearances in all competitions for Rosenborg.
Evian, in particular, has been good for Danes, with Christian Poulsen having revitalised his career at the Parc des Sports in eastern France in 2011/12 after a tough season with Liverpool, while Thomas Kahlenberg and Stephan Andersen also spent time there.
Nielsen’s career has been dogged by off-field controversy with the Copenhagen-born striker having been fined 10,000 Norwegian kroner for disturbing the peace in Trondheim in 2013, while he was arrested in Denmark in July for allegedly assaulting police officers.