Arsenal are reportedly eager to make Jean Michael Seri the first signing of the Unai Emery era, but will have to battle Chelsea for the Nice midfielder.
According to a report by Daily Mail, Unai Emery has his eyes on Jean Michael Seri to be his first signing in the summer transfer window. The newly announced Arsenal manager has been targeting the OGC Nice midfielder, who is also the subject of interest from Chelsea, since his PSG days.
Seri has been one of the standout midfielders in Ligue 1 over the last couple of seasons, having enjoyed two fantastic campaigns with Nice, one of which saw them finish an unprecedented third in the 2016-17 season. This season, the French Riviera club couldn’t match their heights of their previous campaign, but the player has still been a consistent performer.
Two goals and 10 assists in 42 appearances across all competitions, the Ivorian just continued from where he had left off last season, and has continued drawing praise for his performances. As a result, Seri also remains a highly sought-after figure in the transfer market, with Chelsea and Arsenal targeting him for a summer move.
Chelsea’s defence of their league title was a disaster, with failings in midfield attributed as one of the reasons for their poor campaign. The likes of Danny Drinkwater and Ross Barkley have failed to look the part, while Tiemoue Bakayoko has only just started to settle at Stamford Bridge.
With Cesc Fabregas on the wrong side of 30, Chelsea’s need to bolster their midfield options is urgent, making Seri an ideal target. But, Arsenal are set to provide them stiff competition in pursuit of the 26-year-old, possibly making him Unai Emery’s first signing.
The Spaniard has been announced as Arsenal’s next manager, and he is prioritising midfield additions. While the Gunners do have several forward-thinking midfielders, with the futures of Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere uncertain, and with Santi Cazorla calling time on his stint at the Emirates, the need to bolster the midfield has accentuated.
As a result, Emery has turned his attention towards Seri, who he tried to sign as the PSG manager and has looked at extensively during his time in France. The race to sign Seri, thus, looks to be a head-to-head battle between Chelsea and Arsenal.
The only thing standing in the two clubs’ way is the transfer fee, with £35 million enough to secure the player’s services as per a clause in his contract. It now entirely depends on which project the 26-year-old wants to represent, with Champions League football not a deal breaker for either Chelsea or Arsenal.
What appears highly likely is that Seri will be playing in the Premier League next season, possibly for a London club. It now remains to be seen if its Arsenal or Chelsea.