The Nice midfielder is attracting plenty of interest and could be another target the Gunners live to regret missing out on if they do not make a move


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Think of any player currently tearing it up on a European stage that is not on the books of Arsenal.

Got one? Well, Arsene Wenger nearly signed him.

Actually, think of any player to have caught the eye away from north London in the last 20 years.

Wenger almost signed him, too.

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He didn’t, but he could have and it’s important not to get bogged down in the details here.

Yes, the Gunners could have benefitted from the considerable talents of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Yaya Toure and Gianluigi Buffon down the years, but they haven’t and dwelling on that point for too long is only going to raise the blood pressure or spark fits of uncontrollable laughter, depending on which side of the Arsenal fence you fall.

Wenger should, in some ways, be applauded for having at least had his finger on the pulse enough to have spotted the potential in those mentioned above, and countless others beside, but his inability and/or reluctance to get deals done has come back to not only bite him on the backside, more tear giant chunks of flesh out of his rear end.

Jean Michael Seri Nice 16 17

There have, of course, been plenty of success stories.

For every Didier Drogba passed up there has been a calculated gamble taken on a Thierry Henry.

Arsenal are, however, now in a position where they cannot afford to miss out on any more polished diamonds or hidden gems.

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N’Golo Kante is among the latest to have slipped through their net, with Wenger having admitted to looking at a fellow Frenchman “when he was in France, when he was at Leicester”.

He was back in for a man now being held up as the natural successor to Claude Makelele as the finest holding midfielder on the planet as he prepared to depart Leicester last summer, only for London rivals Chelsea to pip him to a £32 million deal and then sweep to the Premier League title.

Arsenal, down in fifth, are still ruing what could have been, with injuries in 2016-17 having helped to further highlight their deficiencies in that particular area of the field.

Santi Cazorla was a big miss for the Gunners after suffering an Achilles injury in October, with a problem that was initially expected to sideline him for three weeks now sparking reports that he may never play for the club again.

Jean Michael Seri Nice cold

There is an obvious hole in the squad to fill there, and an ideal candidate may be starting to register on the Emirates Stadium radar.

Jean Michael Seri may not be a household name yet, but he might be in the future and could well end up being another entry on the ‘Wenger could have signed’ roll of shame.

For now, Arsenal’s fate in that particular pursuit remains squarely in their own hands.

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The 25-year-old, who has also been linked with Tottenham and Roma, has a £35 million release clause in his contract at Nice, which means he will not come cheap if a deal is to be done.

He could, however, prove to be money well spent as he boasts many of the attributes which should help to ensure a smooth transition to life in England, particularly at Arsenal, is made — just like Kante before him.

The Gunners have not filled their ranks with the likes of Dennis Bergkamp, Robert Pires, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez down the years to lump the ball long, there is an ‘Arsenal way’ and those philosophies will be championed for as long as Wenger is at the helm, and likely well beyond.

Seri, then, should be a perfect fit.

Jean Michael Seri Nice 16 17

No player in Ligue 1 last season made more passes than the Ivory Coast international, which in turn means that nobody completed more successful passes.

Breaking things down to per 90 minutes, only established stars Thiago Motta (110.95) and Marco Verratti (102.19) at big-spending Paris Saint-German attempted more passes per game than Seri (85.92), with the same two players the only ones to top him in the touches stakes — although once again the Nice man had more in total across the entire campaign.

He is clearly capable of dictating play — much like Cazorla — with his value in the final third also highlighted by assist numbers which again place him third on the Ligue 1 list.

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Seri laid on nine goals for grateful team-mates last season — as many as Manchester City new boy Bernardo Silva — and that return could have been even better as he created 74 chances in total — more than leading assist-makers Thomas Lemar (another Arsenal target) and Morgan Sanson.

If he had someone more clinical on the end of those opportunities, say Alexandre Lacazette rather than Mario Balotelli, then his numbers would have been even more impressive, while his four assists from dead-ball situations also point to someone who could prove to be a useful alternative to Ozil and Co at the Emirates.

There is, however, always a sticking point — as Wenger has found out the hard way down the years — and these comments from Seri are unlikely to have been well received in north London: “When it’s cold I need special treatment. I don’t see myself playing in a country where it’s cold. I hurt everywhere and I struggle to train.”

Relying on assistance from the elements is rarely a recipe for success in the recruitment market, but if Arsenal can assure Seri that they will keep him well stocked for gloves and parka jackets through the chilly English winter, then perhaps they can ensure that another top talent does not pass them by.