Manchester United have reportedly stepped up their interest in OGC Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri ahead of a potential summer transfer.
According to Jack Gaughan of MailOnline, the Red Devils sent scouts to Nice’s clash with Lokomotiv Moscow in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday to run the rule over the playmaker.
“Seri’s release clause is believed to be in the region of £33 million, while Jose Mourinho has made it clear to club bosses that he wants to significantly bolster his midfield,” Gaughan reported.
Longstanding midfield linchpin Michael Carrick is set to retire at the end of the season, while Marouane Fellaini’s contract is set to expire in the summer. Meanwhile, it’s said Manchester City are in the box seat to sign Shakhtar Donetsk’s Fred, a player Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News previously linked with the Red Devils.
Per Gaughan, Barcelona were interested in making a move for Seri last summer, although a transfer didn’t materialise.
In 2016-17, the 26-year-old excelled for Lucien Favre’s side, helping them mount a surprise title challenge before sealing a third-placed finish in Ligue 1. This term, Seri and his team-mates have not reached the same levels, although there have still been moments of class from the Ivory Coast international.
WhoScored.com recently epitomised the type of impact Seri can have on matches in the French top flight:
The Nice man is always seeking to get on the ball. Seri is adept at taking possession from his defenders and getting attacks going, although he can also dictate play from higher up the pitch and help pin opponents back.
In addition to being incisive on the ball, Seri can also get about the pitch and make tackles. French football journalist Jeremy Smith believes the midfielder can play numerous roles:
With Carrick stepping aside and Fellaini potentially leaving, United may be light in midfield come the summer. In addition, plenty would argue the team would benefit from another man in this area anyway, especially if Mourinho wants to get the best from Paul Pogba.
The France international has struggled to show his best when deployed in a central-midfield pairing with Nemanja Matic, and he’s been much more influential when utilised in a midfield trio. Luckhurst suggested changes need to be made to bring the best from United’s record signing:
Seri could be the type of player to help that process, as he has different traits to Pogba and Matic. While he is more disciplined than the former, he’s better in possession and more attack-minded than the latter.
With Nice set to miss out on European football next season—they sit in ninth in Ligue 1—Seri could feel as though the time is right to take on a new challenge. And in this transfer market, a £33 million release clause represents excellent value for a wonderful footballer.
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