JEAN MICHAEL SERI
Fulham | 27 | Midfielder
Jean Michael Seri was on the brink of joining Barcelona during the summer of 2017, so it’s a real coup for Fulham that he’ll be trotting out at Craven Cottage this season. The collapse of Seri’s mooted $65 million move to Camp Nou prompted angry recriminations, with Seri accusing Nice of asking for too much money, his agent claiming that Paris Saint-Germain had tabled an unhelpful counter-offer, and Nice suggesting it was Barça who had pulled the plug. Seri admitted that he had been “really hurt” by the sequence of events, and his performance level dipped in the months that followed. Seri was a revelation in his first two campaigns at Nice, setting the attack-minded side’s tempo from his deep-lying midfield position and helping the club finish 4th and then 3rd in Ligue 1. His standout campaign was 2016-17, when he scored seven goals, provided 10 assists and earned a place in Ligue 1’s Team of the Season. Seri grew up in Grand-Bereby, a coastal town close to Ivory Coast’s border with Liberia, and kicked off his senior career at the prestigious ASEC Mimosas. He joined Porto on loan in 2012 and spent a season in their B team before a move to Pacos de Ferreira allowed him to sample top-level European action for the first time. He departed for Nice in 2015 and made his international debut three months later. A short, bustling figure (he’s 168cm), Seri has immense belief in his ability to outfox opponents deep inside his own half, and exhibits excellent awareness of his team-mates’ positioning, regularly setting attacks in motion with clever first-time flicks. Whether he succeeds in the Premier League or not, Fulham fans can expect to see plenty of him – he topped the Ligue 1 charts for passes attempted and passes completed in each of the past two seasons.