Reports: Barcelona and Arsenal to fight it out for Ligue 1 star
He has been one of the best midfielders in Ligue 1 for the past year or so.
What's the story?
Barcelona and Arsenal are likely to battle it out for the signature of Jean-Michael Seri, according to the Metro. The midfielder, who helped Nice advance into the Champions League playoffs, has been linked with a move to the London club all season long. The Gunners will, however, face competition from the Catalan giants for his signature.
The report also suggests if it is a straight choice between the two clubs, the Ivorian will prefer to move to the Camp Nou rather than the Emirates. The midfielder has a £36 million release clause in his contract.
In case you didn’t know...
Jean-Michael Seri was one of the standout performers for Nice last season as they finished third behind PSG and Monaco in the Ligue 1 table. The 26-year-old contributed 7 goals and 9 assists from midfield in the League, one of the best outputs for a central midfielder in all Europe.
The Ivory Coast international has carried his form into this season, delivering a stellar performance to knock out Ajax in the Champions League qualifying stage of the competition.
The heart of the matter
Arsene Wenger is looking to strengthen his midfield this season, with the likes of Thomas Lemar reportedly targeted as the London club look to challenge in the Europa League and the Premier League. The fact that they are absent from the Champions League can potentially be a huge blow to their hopes of securing the Ivorian's services if Barcelona are also interested in the midfielder.
Barcelona too are looking to add to their midfielder ranks with the likes of Marco Verratti and Paulinho being linked with a move to the Camp Nou. However, given the release clause in Seri’s contract, it might be relatively easier to sign the midfielder.
This seems to be the question of who eventually will act on their interest before the other. However, given the options in midfield for Arsenal at the moment, they need to replace the passing range of Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere and a move for Seri seems more important for them than Barcelona.
If Arsenal are indeed interested in signing the midfielder, then it is bad business on their part to leave it as late as this given he has a very payable release clause (in the current transfer market). Nonetheless, he would be a great addition to either of the squads.