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Arsenal have inside track over Chelsea, rest of top six for Jean Michaël Seri

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The 26-year-old midfielder almost joined Barcelona last summer and now could be making the switch to Arsenal instead.

Netherlands v Ivory Coast - International Friendly Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

For the second straight summer, Nice midfielder Jean Michaël Seri is set to be one of the more coveted transfer targets around Europe. The 26-year-old has now put together three solid seasons on the French Riviera and with just one year left on his contract, is surely well primed for a big move. He has a £35m release clause, which is a fairly standard fee these days for a good player.

Last summer, it was Barcelona who almost managed to sign the Cote d’Ivoire international, but they decided to make a move for Paulinho instead. The man behind the negotiations for Barca at the time, Raul Sanllehi, has since moved to Arsenal, which is why the latest reports from L’Equipe (via Daily Mirror) put Arsenal in the lead for the midfielder’s signature.

While it’s acknowledged that as with Jorginho, all of the Premier League’s top six are potentially interested, Sanllehi gives Arsenal the leg up, the inside track, all the metaphors for a minor advantage. It’s unclear if Seri’s medical condition about playing in cold weather is still an issue or not; most of the recent reports have not mentioned anything about it.

Unlike at Chelsea, apparently Arsenal’s coaching vacancy is not an issue, mostly because the recruitment is being handled by a technical director. At Chelsea, both of those positions are shrouded in mystery, and that’s a pretty tough way to get anything done.

There are 89 days to go until the start of the new season. Tick-tock.