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Chelsea have been cleared to sign Jean-Michael Seri with Arsenal unlikely to pursue a summer deal for the Nice midfielder, reports say.
Seri has developed into a key player for Nice since signing from Portuguese outfit Pacos de Ferreira, playing 121 games for the club in all competitions.
His performances in Ligue 1 have caught the attention of a number of Premier League clubs and Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United were all linked with a move in January.
Jose Mourinho’s United have already signed a top-class midfielder, however, with Brazil international Fred joining the club this week from Shakhtar Donetsk.
According to the Evening Standard, Arsenal have also cooled their interest in Seri, putting Chelsea at the front of the queue to secure a deal for the 26-year-old.
It is claimed new Gunners boss Unai Emery is now considering a move for other midfield targets including Hoffenheim’s Kerem Demirbay and Roma’s Lorenzo Pellegrini.
Chelsea were said to be in advanced talks with Seri on Monday and Arsenal’s decision to look elsewhere only strengthens the possibility of Seri heading to Stamford Bridge.
While Antonio Conte is still in charge of the Blues, he is expected to leave at some stage this summer after a frustrating season in which his team finished outside of the top four.
Meanwhile, Arsenal’s moves for a midfielder will likely depend on Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey, who have both been in talks with the club over signing new deals.