Why Fulham are right to consider a recall for Jean Michael Seri
The 28-year-old, who came through the door at Craven Cottage as a marquee signing for a fee of £25million last summer, was shipped out on loan to the Turkish giants following a diabolical campaign in the Premier League that eventually ended in relegation for the Cottagers.
The huge money that Fulham paid to French club Nice to acquire the services of the Ivorian enforcer, coupled with his consistently underwhelming displays in the Premier League last season, made him somewhat of a protagonist behind the club’s relegation from the top-flight.
Seri only managed a meagre return of 1 goal and 2 assists in 32 league appearances for the west London outfit last term, and it wasn’t a surprise when he was shipped out on loan to cut down the wage bills this summer as a part of a squad rebuilding job prior to the start of the club’s campaign in the Championship.
Fulham eventually went on to bolster their squad with a number of loan signings from various Premier League clubs. The likes of Harry Arter, Bobby Reid, Harrison Reed, Ivan Cavaleiro and Anthony Knockaert all arrived as players with proven pedigree in the Championship and the Cottagers seemed to have all bases covered by the end of the transfer window.
Tipped by many to make a return to the Premier League at the first time of asking, the Cottagers made a bright start to their life back in the Championship, but a winless streak of five league games, including defeats against Hull City and Stoke City, has threatened to derail the club’s surge for promotion.
Seri has only made a total of 10 appearances for the Turkish giants in all competitions so far this term, starting only four league games.
Seri has started thrice in the UEFA Champions League but with Fatih Terim preferring the likes of Steven Nzonzi and Mario Lemina more often than not, the Ivorian’s limited playtime in the Super Lig has put him on the verge of a premature return to Fulham.
To put things into perspective, these speculations might sound unreal to certain sections of the fans but it won’t be a bad idea for Fulham to bring him back to the club in January.
Despite his wages, which are up there with the Premier League standards, could be a burden on the club’s bills, it is hard to deny that a midfielder of his calibre could possibly be a massive upgrade on the Cottagers’ existing options in the middle of the park.
Scott Parker has entrusted Harrison Reed with the No.6 role in his preferred 4-3-3 system, with Tom Cairney a regular fixture in the playing XI and the likes of Arter, Reid, Onomah and Stefan Johansen all filling in the other No.8 role on a rotational basis.
Cairney has starred with 5 goals and 3 assists but the likes of Reid, Arter, Johansen and Onomah are yet to find the net in the Championship, whilst Kevin McDonald has only started once in the league so far.
To that end, Fulham can certainly do with a bit more goal threat from their midfield options and recalling Jean Michael Seri could prove to be a masterstroke that transforms them into outright promotion favourites.
Agreed, the Cottagers are currently right up there with the best scoring sides in the Championship at the moment, but goal contributions from central midfield often make the difference when the race for automatic promotion goes down to the wire, and an influential box-to-box midfielder like Seri is more than capable of chipping in with valuable goals and assists.
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He might have failed to live up to the hype in the Premier League but a drop down to the Championship could possibly help him rediscover his mojo.
The 28-year-old still has a contract at Craven Cottage until 2022 and Fulham should definitely make use of that rather than just allowing a player of his calibre to rot somewhere else on loan.