Liverpool, Arsenal midfield target open to move

Rob McCarthy

Nice midfielder Jean-Michael Seri is open to joining either Arsenal or Liverpool after his dream switch to Barcelona broke down.

The Ivory Coast star enjoyed an outstanding campaign at Nice in 2016-17, having joined the club from Paços de Ferreira in 2015, and that alerted many of Europe’s top sides to his talents.

The 26-year-old, who has a release clause of £35million, openly admitted that Barca was his top choice but that deal is no longer a possibility and Seri has switched his focus to the Premier League instead.

“I feel very bad. I’m not going to lie to you, I’m very affected,” Seri told Mundo Deportivo.

“For me, football has always been a celebration, a joy. I have not played this weekend with Nice because I do not have my head set on football. My dream of going to Barça has been broken and this, for me, is terrible.

“The [transfer] broke down because the talks between the two clubs went from bad to worse. From what I have been able to find out, my departure from Nice has not occurred for financial reasons.

“I tried to isolate myself from the negotiations because we had a decisive match against Napoli (last Tuesday), but it is impossible to forget that Barça was here to finish my transfer.

“I do not make excuses, I just want to make clear the psychological state in which I was before a Champions League game. I am a player who likes to organise the game, to command, to press, but could not be one hundred percent. I tried, but it was impossible!”

“After the game I was meeting for more than an hour with the leaders of FC Barcelona and they did not tell me anything about the progress of my signing.

“I went home happy and the next day I heard the news (that Barcelona had pulled out of the deal). I was stunned to see that the operation had broken down. Then I went to the offices of Nice to see the leaders to know what had happened. Then I exploded! I assure you the walls trembled.

“The leaders of my club did not tell me anything, not even look me in the eye. It was clear that something had happened: they promised me one thing and then it turned out that they did not keep their promise, asking for more money from me.”

When asked if there was a slim chance that a move to the Catalan giants could still happen, he added: “I want to be optimistic and think that there are still options. Let the two clubs talk quietly again and come to an agreement. We are not talking about any club, where you are going to sign for money.”

“I was very excited when I read Xavi’s statements about me. It is an honour that someone like him, precisely my footballing role model, spoke that way about me. It was a magical feeling to read his words. My wish is to thank you one day in person for everything you have said about me.”

Seri’s focus is now to secure a move to another of Europe’s big boys: “I want to sign [for] big European clubs, like Juventus, PSG, Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool,” he continued.

“For example, Roma, has made several offers. I have spoken many times with Monchi and this transfer has not occurred either because of economic reasons. Monchi got tired of the leaders of Nice! Roma was a good choice, but nothing to do with Barca.”