Get up to date on Arsenal transfer news, injury updates, fixtures, not restricting reports on Arsenal Ladies and share your opinions on Goonerhead
Remember when a fee of €40 million used to mean something in the transfer market? A figure that would have once left onlookers stunned is now chicken feed compared to the going price for the top players in European football.
Even a deal close to the magic £100 million mark is no longer special in a world where Neymar switches clubs for almost double that figure. It was almost casual the manner in which Manchester United laid down close to £90 million for Romelu Lukaku back in July.
Yes, it was a lot of money but merely the going rate judging by the general consensus. What was once extreme is now the new normal, and that’s why Jean Michael Seri could prove to be the bargain of the summer for whichever club decides the trigger his €40 million (£35 million) release clause.
The 26-year-old was linked with a move to Barcelona earlier in the summer and has drawn lofty comparisons with none other than Xavi, their former midfield general and the beating heart of the Pep Guardiola era. A fanciful line to draw between one of the all-time greats and a very good 26-year-old making waves for Nice? Maybe but there are similarities in the way they both play football, if not parity with regards to their calibre as footballers.
Ajax are one side that can testify to the quality that Seri possesses. The Ivorian laid on assists home and away in their two-legged qualification play-off with last year’s Europa League finalists for a chance to make it into the Champions League group stage this season.
In the second match of the tie, he surged through the box to slip a back heeled pass across goal for Vincent Marcel to make it 2-2 (3-3 on aggregate) to send the French side through on away goals.
Yet making match-winning contributions from midfield is what Seri does. In 2016/17, only three footballers played more through balls in Europe’s top five leagues than the Ivory Coast international – Alexis Sanchez, Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria. He is also a tough and nimble dribbler who is excellent at shielding and keeping the ball to pass it on or bring it forward.