Fulham have officially announced the signing of OGC Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri, who was also a summer target for Arsenal and Chelsea.
Fulham have made an official statement to confirm that they have secured the services of Jean Michael Seri from OGC Nice on a four-year deal. Arsenal and Chelsea were also reportedly interested in signing the Ivory Coast international in the summer transfer window.
Seri arrives to the Premier League with a burgeoning reputation of being one of the most prolific passers in Ligue 1. In fact, over the last couple of seasons, the Ivorian midfielder topped the charts in the French top-flight in terms of passes played and completed, and was a clear standout in the OGC Nice squad during this period.
— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) July 12, 2018
With his rising stock though, also came widespread interest. Barcelona were heavily linked with Seri last summer before a move failed to materialise. This summer, most of the interest was based in the Premier League, with Arsenal and Chelsea among his high profile suitors.
Arsenal are currently in the process of a summer squad overhaul, with Unai Emery looking to mould the unit to his liking. Defence and midfield have been the focus for the new manager, with Seri reportedly one of his targets. However, the signings of Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi indicate that Emery is looking to add more steel to his midfield instead of creativity.
With as many as six midfielders at Emery’s disposal now, it appears unlikely that Arsenal will look for another addition in the middle of the park. Chelsea, on the other hand, seem to be in urgent need of a midfield reinforcement this summer.
The likes of Danny Drinkwater and Ross Barkley have been unimpressive. Tiemoue Bakayoko, Cesc Fabregas and N’Golo Kante are thus, the only other recognised options at the disposal of the incoming manager, believed to be Maurizio Sarri. That Kante is also linked with a summer move away from the Bridge only adds to the uncertainty at Chelsea.
Seri was thus, a viable target for Chelsea, despite reports of an imminent move for Jorginho. But, the Blues and Arsenal have lost out in pursuit of Seri, with another London club prevailing in their stead. Fulham have secured the services of 26-year-old, who becomes their first summer signing, and was soon followed by the arrival of former OGC Nice teammate Maxime Le Marchand.
The Cottagers have reportedly broken their transfer record by signing Seri, reportedly shelling out around £25 million to land him. The arrival of the 26-year-old will be seen as a coup of sorts for Fulham, considering he has been one of the standout players in Ligue 1 over the last couple of seasons. The player expressed his delight upon completing his move to Craven Cottage.
“It was a long day yesterday so it was great to get the move finalised. Now, I’m ready to get started and looking forward to meeting the squad and getting to know them, the Head Coach and his staff better. I’m delighted to be here, it’s a new adventure that starts for me and I’m hoping it will all go well.”
Seri will be expected to form a solid midfield partnership alongside Fulham captain Tom Cairney, with Stefan Johansen having his role reduced from last season. Seri has finally become a Premier League player. But, instead of Arsenal and Chelsea, it’s Fulham who have triumphed in the race to sign him.