Newly promoted clubs are nowadays expected to make a splash, shelling out cash in a bid to upgrade their squads to Premier League quality.
However, despite these expectations, no one (with the exception of Tony Khan) could have imagined Fulham signing Jean-Michael Seri, the highly-rated central midfielder from Nice.
Fulham’s acquisition of a player who has topped the Ligue 1 rankings for passes played and passes completed for two seasons in a row, and one who Xavi had famously praised, represents the coup of the summer.
This remarkable praise from one of the generation’s best midfielders illustrates how good Seri is. His eye for a pass is second to none, and his goal scoring rate (12 in 103 appearances for Nice) is also laudable.
Fulham desperately needed reinforcements in the centre of midfield, as an upgrade was needed on Stefan Johansen.
Although the Norwegian was crucial to the club’s promotion, at times last season he was frustratingly ineffective and Seri is undoubtedly a more accomplished player to operate in the engine room of the pitch.
“He can play anywhere in the middle. He is fantastic. He has what they call the Barca DNA. No doubt.”
The purchase of Seri is a hugely ambitious move that sends a strong statement of intent to the rest of the top flight. Credit is in store for Tony Khan and the recruitment team, who have bought a player who many expected would depart to clubs of a higher status than Fulham.
Fulham fans had to wait a while for the first signing, but the marquee purchase of one of the best young midfielders in the world was well worth the wait. And just minutes later, Fulham also confirmed the signing of defender Maxime le Merchand from Nice as well, an accomplished centre-back and left-back who will add experience in the backline.
With pass master Jean-Michael Seri alongside Tom Cairney in the Fulham midfield, Premier League defences should be on high alert. Fulham have made their first foray into the transfer market, and they mean business.