Fulham have pulled off one of the shock signings of the summer, as Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri has joined the club for a record fee. The Guardian report that the fee is in the region of £25 million and that he has signed a four-year contract at Craven Cottage.
Over the past 12 months, the 26-year-old has been linked with Chelsea, Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal to name but three other interested clubs. Meanwhile, he came close to signing for Barcelona last summer.
It is a major coup for Fulham to sign the Ivorian, as they are a recently promoted club who haven’t been in the Premier League since 2014.
However, there is clear ambition among the ownership and this could be the first of several ambitious arrivals, as they attempt to establish themselves as a top division force once more.
Their location and style of play make them an appealing option for players, as shown by Seri’s decision to move to Craven Cottage.
Nice have been one of the most exciting teams in watch in Ligue 1 during recent seasons and they have managed to develop a host of exciting players.
Seri is regarded as one of the best to play in red and blue, as he has been at the heart of a team that has played attacking football and qualified for the Champions League. Although they didn’t reach the group stages, it was a huge achievement to get to the play-off round.
The 26-year-old is very much a modern-day central midfielder capable of excelling at a number of roles. He covers a lot of ground for his team and is always looking to improve himself as a player.
“Jean Michael arrives with Premier League qualities as well as great promise for the future, which is why he has been at the very top of our target list for a long time.”
Although he is primarily used as a box-to-box midfielder, he can be used in both deeper and more advanced positions. His pass accuracy rarely dips beneath 90% as he is comfortable on the ball in tight spaces. That said, he isn’t conservative in possession as he looks to break down opposition defences.
Last season, he averaged 2.1 key passes and 1.2 dribbles per game, which underline the quality he has in the transition phase. During the last three seasons, he has contributed 12 goals and 20 assists in Ligue 1.
There have been few better midfielders during that period and he is now ready to test himself in a better division. He was perhaps less impressive during the 2017/18 campaign, but he may have remained with Nice for one year too many.
This is a marquee signing that sends a signal of intent to the rest of the division. Fulham are not in the Premier League to make up the numbers and they are prepared to spend big to establish themselves as a force. Seri is a player that is good enough to play in the Champions League and he will be the star attraction at Craven Cottage next season.
Slavisa Jokanovic and Tony Khan must now make further additions to provide the team with more quality players. It is worth noting that Fulham came up through the play-offs and one player, regardless of his quality, isn’t enough to transform them into a Premier League team.
The club will realise that and Seri could be the first of many eye-catching signings made this summer.