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Arsenal in race with Spurs for Nice’s Seri

Ivorian midfielder has impressed for Favre’s side and has attracted interest from around Europe

SSC Napoli v OGC Nice
Jean Seri battles Napoli’s Ivan Strinic
Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

The rumor mill is well and truly churning as Arsenal’s season runs off the rails. It’s clear the entire squad needs a pretty significant makeover, if not an entire rebuild. The absence of Santi Cazorla for basically the entire season has left a massive void in center midfield, and Arsenal must find a replacement in center midfield this summer. It’s probably not great when you’re relying on a 32-year-old that doesn’t have an achilles, but what do I know?

With all that in mind, Ed Aarons of The Guardian reports that Arsenal have been intensely scouting OGC Nice midfielder Jean Michaël Seri. The Ivory Coast international has been paramount to Lucien Favre’s side, which sits 3rd in the Ligue 1 table after a 3-1 demolition of PSG at the weekend.

Aarons claims that after the match, PSG boss Unai Emery made Seri a transfer priority for the summer and that Spurs and Barcelona are also interested in the Ivorian. Although the player has a £33 million release clause, Nice are reportedly willing to let him go for around £20 million.

Aarons and The Guardian are both reliable sources and it seems Arsenal’s interest in Seri is legitimately concrete. So much so that Seri’s agent was reportedly in London last week to meet with officials of both North London clubs. With PSG and Barcelona interested, it appears that Arsenal may simply not be able to offer as attractive a project as the other clubs, but Seri himself says he wants game time.

Seri was quoted last week, “There are a lot of clubs that follow me. But there is nothing done. If I leave, it will be to join a club where there is a real desire to play football as in Nice. And I’m not going to be on the bench, I’m leaving only if I know I’m going to play.”

Perhaps Arsenal can wrestle Seri away from Barca, PSG, and Spurs by simply being able to offer consistent game time. That aforementioned hole in the middle of the park means that if Seri were to come he’d be plugged right into the starting 11.

Admittedly, I haven’t watched much of Ligue 1 this season, but I have seen a couple of Nice matches and Seri seems to be exactly what The Arsenal need at the moment. An all-action, box-to-box midfielder with speed, quickness, physicality, skill, and creativity with 6 goals and 9 assists this season, Seri can do it all. Ed Aarons reporting that Arsenal are also in the market for RB Leipzig’s Naby Keïta suggests that we are very much looking for a player with that dynamic skill-set.

This would be a very good buy, especially at £20 million. Make it happen, Arsene, or Ivan, or whoever the hell is in charge of things these days.