Arsenal Transfer News: Xavi Weighs In on Jean Michael Seri Rumours

Gianni VerschuerenFeatured ColumnistAugust 12, 2017

Nice's Jean Michael Seri, right,challenges for the ball with Lorient's Didier Ndong, center and, Lorient's Lamine Gassama during the French League One soccer match between Nice and FC Lorient, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in Nice stadium, southeastern France. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)
Lionel Cironneau/Associated Press

Barcelona legend Xavi has expressed his admiration for Arsenal target Jean Michael Seri, urging his former club to sign the Ivorian midfielder.

Seri has been linked with both clubs throughout the summer, and the Barcelona links have grown stronger in the wake of Neymar's sale. Speaking to Eurosport (h/t Goal), Xavi has made it clear he's a fan:

"When I was told that a Nice player was nicknamed the 'African Xavi', I followed him very closely.

"I watched matches and a ton of videos. I didn’t know him... and I was spellbound: I'm not used to seeing such a talent in midfield. Short passing, long passing, tactical intelligence, distance shooting, personality, organising play, that last magic pass... 'madre mia!'

"He would do very well at Barca! He can play anywhere in the middle. Seri is fantastic. I can say, without hesitation, that he has what we call 'Barca DNA'."

Lionel Cironneau/Associated Press

According to the report, Nice will demand a sum of roughly £34 million for the Ivory Coast international—a reasonable sum compared to some of the huge fees clubs have already parted with for players this summer.

Seri became a household name in Ligue 1 last year, playing an instrumental role in Nice's surprising push for European football. The team finished in third place, good enough for a spot in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers.

While Mario Balotelli soaked up many of the headlines, Seri was just as influential. The 26-year-old was the conductor in midfield, playing a similar role to Marco Verratti's at Paris Saint-Germain.

Here's a look at some of his highlights:

While many outlets have likened Seri to Chelsea's N'Golo Kante, those comparisons don't hold much value. As a midfielder, he's mostly a playmaker, although he has some defensive ability.

Here are some of his key stats, per Squawka Football:

Arsenal haven't invested heavily during the summer, but with the Premier League campaign underway, manager Arsene Wenger will have the chance to see his team in action and identify potential areas of need.

Midfield should not be one of those areas, but a talent like Seri might be too good to pass up―especially for such a reasonable fee.