SCOUT REPORT: Who Is The Highly Sought After Jean Michaël Seri?

SCOUT REPORT: Who Is The Highly Sought After Jean Michaël Seri?
Jul 31, 2017

Arsenal Featured Ligue 1 Transfer Rumours

Since Santi Cazorla’s further injury setback it has been reported that Arsène Wenger is in the hunt for midfield reinforcements in this transfer window. The Gunners’ found success with the 3-4-2-1 formation, consisting of a pivot of Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey.

However, given Ramsey’s injury record and Arsenal’s imminent Europa League adventure the North London club will need depth in the heart of their midfield. In recent weeks they have been linked with Nice’s Jean Michaël Seri as a potential target, but who exactly is the midfield maestro?

Background

Born in the Ivory Coast, the nippy midfielder began his career at Africa Sports, in his homeland, before moving to ASEC Mimosas in 2010. It wasn’t long before European scouts were interested in Seri and only a couple of years later, as a 21-year-old, he joined FC Porto’s B-Team on a loan-deal.

He struggled to settle in Portugal and was never able to make the leap up to the main squad but played 13 times in the second tier, scoring once. His exploits were enough to catch the eye of Pacos Ferreira and the mid-table side signed Seri on a free transfer. After a successful two-year stint in Portugal Seri was purchased by French outfit Nice in June 2015.

The Ivorian international enjoyed a solid first season in the red and black of Nice, playing 38 games in Ligue 1 in his debut campaign, notching 3 goals and 6 assists in the process. Throughout Seri’s two years at Nice, he has shown his versatility, playing in both a midfield pivot in a 4-2-3-1 as well as in a three in a 3-5-1-1 shape. The agile midfielder made his international debut in 2015 and has since gone on to make 14 appearances for ‘The Elephants.’

Style Of Play

If Seri moved to Arsenal it would be inevitable for the Ivorian to compared to N’Golo Kanté because of the move from France to England as well as his small stature but in terms of play-style, the two are polar-opposites. While Kanté is known for retrieving the ball Seri is known for his superb ball retention. He also possesses the passing tools that Wenger demands from his midfielders.
The diminutive playmaker created the second most clear-cut chances in Ligue 1 in the last campaign (16) as well as well as averaging 83.4 passes per game, bettered only by PSG’s Thiago Motta (91.5) and Marco Verratti (87.5.) Seri also made more accurate passes (2542) than any other player in France’s top tier last year, showing his importance to Nice’s impressive 3rd place finish in the 2016/17 season.
Not only can the 26-year-old recycle possession but he also has a direct approach that Arsenal have perhaps lacked since Santi Cazorla’s injury. Similar to Liverpool target Naby Keïta, Seri uses his slight frame to skip past opposing players. Despite being 5 foot 5″ he isn’t easy to shrug off the ball. Of the 132 players to have attempted 35 or more dribbles in Ligue 1 last season, Seri had the fourth best success rate (84.2%.) The Ivory Coast international chipped in with an impressive 9 assists and 6 goals last season, impressive reading considering he was mainly utilised as a box-to-box midfielder last term.

Where Would He Fit In At Arsenal?

 Given Seri’s aforementioned versatility he would certainly help provide cover at both central-midfield as well as in the defensive-midfield department. The most likely option would be for Seri to partner Granit Xhaka at the heart of the Gunners’ midfield in their relatively new 3-4-2-1 system. He would assist Xhaka in linking Arsenal’s defence to the attack, something that Santi Cazorla did so well before constant injuries have hampered his game time.
Another option would be for Seri to play alongside both Ramsey and Xhaka in a 4-3-3, with Xhaka dictating the tempo from deep and Ramsey and Seri playing box-to-box roles. A lot of this may hinge on the possible arrival of Thomas Lemar to the Emirates with the Monaco star being linked to the London club for the majority of the summer. However, it is unlikely that the acquisition of Lemar would hinder the chances of Seri joining.

Where Next For The Midfielder?

 AS Roma seemed to appear frontrunners for the Ivorian’s signature after agreeing personal terms with Seri earlier this month. However, the Italian side were unwilling to pay Nice his full €40m release clause and have since pulled out of the race to sign him. Arsenal are reportedly very keen on Seri, as are Spurs, but neither club have made a concrete offer as of yet.
A move to the Emirates is certainly possible but it remains to be seen whether it will be on the cards. Given Seri’s recent exploits and Arsenal’s lack of depth in midfield, this transfer makes a lot of sense but it doesn’t seem to be imminent.
  1. Ankit_gooner says:

    The 433 makes sense with seri xhaka ramsey.But 3421 with seri-xhaka double pivot seems a little weak.If we are to play a double pivot,it would make sense to buy krychowiak

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