According to reports, OGC Nice midfielder Jean-Michael Seri could be the subject of a transfer battle between Premier League clubs Arsenal and Chelsea this summer.
Seri, who has a £35m release clause, has established himself as one of the sought-after midfielders in France, that has seen him draw attention from all corners of Europe, especially the Premier League.
Arsenal new head coach Unai Emery wants to sign Seri as he is looking to overhaul the squad following Arsene Wenger’s departure, while Chelsea, who are reportedly close to appointing Maurizio Sarri to replace Antonio Conte, are looking at the Ivorian to be part of a new-look midfield next term.
Seri rose to prominence last season when his valuable contributions saw Nice finish 4th in Ligue 1. While his form dipped this campaign, where he scored only twice in 37 appearances, interest from top European club suggests that the 26-year-old is still a hot prospect.
Arsenal’s interest in Seri is genuine but it is important for Chelsea to beat their London rivals for his signature.
Chelsea endured a horrible campaign that saw them finish 5th in the league and subsequently miss out on a place in the Champions League. Antonio Conte did salvage the season by winning the FA Cup but uncertainty still prevails over his future at Stamford Bridge.
Conte’s tactics, which made him a Premier League winner in his first season at Chelsea, got exposed this season. The defence was fragile, the midfield got overrun and the forwards ran out of steam in 2018. But what disappointed the most was Chelsea’s midfield in the recently concluded season.
In N’Golo Kante, Chelsea probably have the best defensive midfielder in Europe. The diminutive Frenchman once again poured his heart and soul in Chelsea colours but failed to get sufficient help from his midfield partners.
Following Nemanja Matic’s departure to Manchester United, Tiemoue Bakayako was signed from AS Monaco after he had enjoyed a rollicking season in Ligue 1. But the French powerhouse struggled to impose himself in the Premier League and often became a subject of criticism.
Apart from Bakayoko, Chelsea also signed Danny Drinkwater from Leicester City but the midfielder failed to make an impact due to persistent injury problems.
Due to Bakayoko’s struggles and Drinkwater’s continued absence due to injuries, Conte paired Cesc Fabregas alongside Kante and while the move worked well this season, the Blues must revamp their midfield and spend heavily on a solid box-to-box midfielder in the summer.
Seri could be the solution to Chelsea’s midfield problems. Capable of operating as a defensive midfielder or in a double-pivot, Seri has played a role of a midfield enforcer at Nice.
He is short but powerful and knows to make good use of his body and strength. The Ivorian is not a flashy midfielder but has good dribbling abilities. With his energy and agility, the 26-year-old could make the Chelsea attack tick.
Seri is in top form at the moment and will be a fantastic buy for Chelsea. The Blues need to strengthen their midfield in the summer and the Ivorian can add instant quality, ending their search for a proper midfielder to partner Kante.