When Liverpool’s pursuit of Naby Keïta ended in failure, more than a few observers thought an obvious alternate target would be Nice’s 26-year-old Ivorian international Jean Seri, who while lacking some of Keïta’s defensive steel does otherwise compare well to the club’s top choice central midfielder.
Now, according to the Guardian’s Ed Arrons, they’re doing just that. It comes late in the window, and there must be questions now asked—assuming, of course, that the rumour is true—if Seri is meant to be a Plan B to Keïta, an option considered following Adam Lallana’s injury, or Philippe Couthin’s replacement.
All three options are plausible when it comes to Seri, though of the three—Keïta, Lallana, and Coutinho—it’s likely the Nice midfielder bears the closest resemblance to Lallana. Undersized, hard driving with the ball at his very quick feet, laterally mobile, hard working, and with a keen eye for the pass.
Seri very much fills a need in the squad. He would have, even before, even when it was just a case of missing out on Keïta. Now that Lallana is out and Coutinho’s future seems uncertain, he seems the most obvious target on the market—at least if one accepts the Keïta chase is in fact over and Liverpool missed out.
The good news is that, despite France’s Ligue 1 attempting to legislate against release clauses, multiple reports claim Seri has a €40M (£36M) clause in his contract. It’s a bargain in the current market for a player as good as Seri, a player the club should have been chasing hard the moment Keïta fell through.
The real question—the real uncertainty—now is, if the club are actually after Seri at this point, what it is that is motivating their late chase.