Arsenal have re-joined the race for OGC Nice midfielder Jean-Michael Seri. According to Sky Sports, the 26-year-old is on the Gunners’ radar again and could be on his way to the Emirates if his £40m asking price is met.
Arsenal’s Head of Football Relations Raul Sanllehi wanted the midfielder at Barcelona during his time as their Sporting Director and he clearly feels his new club could benefit from his abilities too.
Seri has been somewhat linked with Arsenal since 2016, but it was a year later that the Gunners were actively pursuing his signature after an impressive campaign – 2016/17: 34 league games, seven goals, nine assists.
The Ivorian international joined Nice from Portuguese side Pacos Ferreira in 2015 and has gone on to make 122 appearances in all competitions, scoring and creating 38 goals.
Seri’s form in 2016/17 led to a number of clubs joining Arsenal in the race for his services and he nearly joined Barcelona last summer. The deal broke down as Nice reportedly tried to up the asking price at the eleventh hour and he was denied the dream move to the Nou Camp.
The Catalans signed Paulinho the same summer and he’s since enjoyed a good debut campaign which means it will be unlikely they come in for Seri again. Arsenal, however, aren’t giving up on the 26-year-old as they could yet be losing two midfielders within the next 12 months.
The futures of Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey remain uncertain, as the pair are currently running down their respective deals without coming close to agreeing to an extension. Wilshere could leave Arsenal for free this summer if he can’t come to an agreement over a new deal.
Wilshere rose through the youth ranks to the Arsenal first-team in 2008, making 198 appearances in the 10 years that followed. Manager Arsene Wenger, however, sanctioned the exit of the playmaker last summer after he returned from a disappointing loan spell at Bournemouth with a leg fracture.
Ramsey has finally entered contract talks with Arsenal, but he appears no close to agreeing a new deal either.
The Welsh international joined from Cardiff City in 2008 and has made 331 appearances for the Gunners. He’s been a regular this season and has another year left on his deal, but Arsenal could be losing two influential midfielders from the squad ahead of the new campaign.
This makes signing Seri all the more important. The Nice star has a good eye for goal, is highly-creative and is adept at driving with the ball from deep into attacking positions, so he has the attributes to succeed at the Emirates Stadium.
What’s also worth noting is that Seri is a player Sanllehi has identified, further highlighting how the club are now building the squad ready for Arsene Wenger’s successor, taking significant power away from the manager.
Arsenal are also moving quickly to secure a talented midfielder just in case they lose Wilshere this summer. If the worst should happen, the Gunners would be left with Mohamed Elneny, Granit Xhaka and Ainsley Maitland-Niles. One more face in the engine room should be enough for the season.
Seri will cost £40m to sign which wouldn’t break the bank either.