With Liverpool having splashed the cash in January for Virgil van Dijk and the front line operating like a well-oiled machine, much of the speculation around the club’s transfer intentions has focused on the midfield. The Henderson-Wijnaldum-Can triumvirate that has been there for much of the season hasn’t been a glaring weakness to the same degree that other areas have been in the past, but it’s also the area where many observers have decided Liverpool could use the most reinforcing.
Certain changes are already all but guaranteed. Naby Keïta will make his long-awaited transition from the Bundesliga in the summer, and Emre Can still looks set to leave the club when his contract runs its at the conclusion of this season. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain continues to make a case for himself while Adam Lallana still needs to show his fitness concerns are behind him. In recent weeks, Liverpool have been linked with Napoli’s Jorginho as well as Southampton’s Mario Lemina.
To that list, we can now add a name with which most supporters will be somewhat familiar: Jean Michaël Seri, the 26-year-old Ivorian central midfielder who currently plies his trade for OGC Nice. Seri found himself caught up in the Coutinho silliness last summer when he looked headed to Barcelona to play the role of consolation prize, before the Catalan giants decided they wouldn’t meet the asking price, leaving a clearly upset Seri back in France.
With the 2018 summer window within sight, Seri has once again been linked with a host of suitors, including Manchester United. As suggested by The Mirror, however, José Mourinho has concerns about the diminutive midfielders ability to thrive in the rough and tumble of the Premier League, allowing Liverpool a clearer path forward to an acquisition - assuming there’s any actual interest. According to the reports, Klopp’s scouts are keeping an eye on Seri as a possible option in light of Can’s expected departure and James Milner’s preparations to celebrate his 200th birthday.
Given his stature, his work rate, and his impressive focus on ball retention, Seri seems less a like-for-like Can replacement and more a serious competitor for Jordan Henderson’s minutes. Although his adventurousness and eye for goal seem to have been somewhat blunted this season (the Barcelona affair was supposedly a factor), Seri’s pass completion statistics have been fairly consistent. And then there is the suggestion that, unlike some of Liverpool’s other midfield targets, the Ivorian has a release clause in the region of £35 million - a pedestrian sum by today’s standards.
The lack of serious activity on the Seri front last summer and the current absence of corroborating noises should suggest that this rumor be treated with skepticism, at least for now. It’s possible, however, that Klopp is making sure he has a Plan B or even Plan C in place, should the dominoes fall the wrong way for Liverpool once the window is open. Silly season is not that far away.