According to Sky Sports, West Ham are interested in signing OGC Nice midfielder Jean-Michael Seri, who is available for £35 million due to a release clause in his current contract.
Perhaps Ligue 1’s most sought after midfield players, if Manuel Pellegrini is able to tempt the Ivory Coast international to join the Hammers, it would be a real statement of intent.
A combination of Seri and Pedro Obiang in midfield could be one of the most dynamic in the Premier League next season.
Seri is a versatile option who has played in a three, four, and five-man midfield system in different matches under the tenures of both Claude Puel and Lucien Favre. The 26-year-old is not only an asset in retaining possession, but also in bringing play forward and has enhanced his growing reputation as a capable playmaker.
Obiang, meanwhile, is an excellent passer of the ball – exactly the type that Pellegrini likes – who possesses an abundance of energy. At times he lacks discipline in his game, but his new manager’s coaching will transform him into a more level-headed player, who will be comfortable in fulfilling his defensive responsibilities.
Of course, Hammers fans will also be excited about the prospect of Declan Rice featuring more prominently under Pellegrini next term. The youngster featured as a central defender for the Hammers in 2017/18, but is perhaps most comfortable as a holding player, as his recent midfield display for Ireland evidenced.
A Seri and Obiang/Rice partnership, in Pellegrini’s favoured 4-2-2-2 formation, would provide a solid base for the Hammers front four to launch their attacks. With Obiang/Rice able to sit and break up opposition advances, Seri would be the man to carry the ball into the final third to supply his teammates.
Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez have proven themselves more than capable throughout their respective careers and West Ham fans will be excited to see the duo line up together next season. Therefore, all that’s lacking is a creative presence further up the pitch, particularly with Manuel Lanzini sidelined for the foreseeable future.
Following the smart additions of Ryan Fredericks, Issa Diop and Lukasz Fabianski, and the possible arrival of Seri, Pellegrini would be left with the remainder of the summer transfer window to identify some quality, creative midfield options.