Nice have completed the permanent signing of midfielder Didier Digard from Middlesbrough on a three-year deal.
Digard spent all of last season on loan with the Ligue 1 club having initially moved back to his homeland on a temporary basis in January 2010.
The midfielder, who moved to the Riverside from Paris St Germain in a £4million deal in July 2008, was expected to leave the North East this summer.
But Digard has admitted there were times when he felt that Tony Mowbray and Steve Gibson could block his departure.
He told his new club's official website: "When you see that the coach wants to keep you and the chairman seems strong financially, the case can become complicated."
However, with his Riverside exit now secured, Digard is already looking forward to the new season in France.
He added: "I said last year that this season would be the most important for the club. We knew that there would be change and I wanted to be part of the project."