Barcelona president 'embarrassed' over failed Jean Michael Seri transfer, claims Nice counterpart

The Catalan club made a last minute U-turn after agreeing a fee with the Ligue 1 side, shattering the midfielder's dreams

Evan Bartlett
Tuesday 05 September 2017 11:45 BST
The 26-year-old Ivorian said it was his 'dream' to move to Camp Nou
The 26-year-old Ivorian said it was his 'dream' to move to Camp Nou (AFP/Getty Images)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has been on a charm offensive this week – but he couldn’t stop all the bad news getting out.

Bartomeu has been busy telling the Catalan press how “optimistic” he is about the season ahead, how Barca are stronger than they were last season and how well things are run behind the scenes at Camp Nou.

Barca’s summer transfer dealings – in which they lost Neymar against their will, failed to land a number of prime targets including Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho and ended up with Tottenham reject Paulinho – have been heavily criticised by fans and pundits alike.

And Bartomeu’s counterpart at Nice, Jean-Pierre Rivere, has claimed the Barca man rang him up last month and privately expressed his “embarrassment” at the Catalan club’s bungling of Jean-Michael Seri’s proposed transfer.

The two clubs had agreed a fee for Seri and the 26-year-old subsequently revealed how it was his “dream” to play for Barcelona but the La Liga side changed their minds at the last moment and a deal never materialised.

"Julien Fournier, the general manager of [Nice], called me early on Wednesday [August 23], at about 9am and said: 'Jean-Pierre, I do not understand, I received a call from Barcelona and they told me to stop the Seri transfer'," Rivere told Canal+.

"In the afternoon, Bartomeu called me, a little embarrassed, and said to me: 'This is the first time that it has happened to us. Our staff have decided not to sign Seri, but it is not a financial issue'."

Barcelona had been linked with a move for Seri – one of the most in demand players in Ligue 1 – after Neymar’s to PSG.

Subsequent reports suggested the club had only started to scout the player because so many of their fans mentioned him on social media.

Whether the rumours were true or not, it has only added to the general feeling that Barcelona is a mess behind the scenes.

"I put myself in his [Seri's] shoes," Rivere added. "It was his dream to go to Barcelona and then it was broken. It was all up in the air."

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