Arsenal, Chelsea still in race for €40m star as agent denies Napoli bid

The agent of Nice midfielder Jean-Michael Seri has handed Premier League clubs a boost by saying that Napoli are unlikely to bid for him.

Seri is one of the most coveted players in European football, having impressed in a three-season spell in Ligue 1.

The 26-year-old midfielder was recently expected to be moving to Napoli, but agent Franklin Mala denied the Serie A switch on Radio CRC.

“Seri to Napoli? It doesn’t depend on us but on Napoli. I read that Napoli are signing Fabian Ruiz, so if they sign the Spaniard, it’ll be difficult to sign Seri too,” he said.

“We’re open to talks with Napoli, but there’s been nothing so far. Seri’s clause is €40m and it’s valid until July 15. After that, Nice can ask for the amount they want.”

Mala complimented new Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti, but refuted claims that he had travelled to Naples to discuss a move for Seri.

“Ancelotti is a great Coach, he has an excellent reputation in football because he’s able to establish an excellent relationship with his players.

“For now, however, it’s all fantasy because as long as Napoli don’t come forward, it’s difficult to give precise answers. My trip to Naples? Yes, I was in Naples because I have friends in Avellino and I also had lunch at Piazza Vittoria for some seafood.”

Arsenal and Chelsea are the main Premier League contenders for the Ivory Coast international, although West Ham also emerged as surprise suitors yesterday, according to Sky Sports.

Seri is entering the final year of his contract at Nice, who finished eighth in Ligue 1 last season and have recently appointed Patrick Vieira as their new manager.