Fulham have confirmed that they have won the race to sign Jean Michael Seri from Nice.
The midfielder had hoped to make a move to Napoli, but, instead, the London side have succeeded in capturing a player who had courted interest from both Arsenal and Chelsea previously.
While no figure for the deal has been officially released, it is thought that he will cost the Cottagers around €30 million (£26.5m/$35m).
The 26-year-old had a release clause of €40 million (£35m/$47m) that expired on July 15 and it is thought West Ham were also seriously interested in him.
The Ivory Coast international has arrived on a four-year deal with the option of one more, subject to him receiving a work permit.
After making 103 appearances in France’s top flight, scoring 12 goals and creating 23 more, he is looking forward to the challenge of playing in England.
“It was a long day yesterday so it was great to get the move finalised,” he told the club’s official website.
“Now, I’m ready to get started and looking forward to meeting the squad and getting to know them, the Head Coach and his staff better.
“I’m delighted to be here, it’s a new adventure that starts for me and I’m hoping it will all go well.”
Club owner Tony Khan believes the arrival of Seri marks a watershed moment for the side, who won promotion into the Premier League last term.
“Jean Michael arrives with Premier League qualities as well as great promise for the future, which is why he has been at the very top of our target list for a long time,” he said.
“So, this is a big day for everyone associated with Fulham and working at Motspur Park, and I trust all Fulham supporters are collectively as thrilled and ecstatic as we are that Jean Michael will be joining our squad as we return home to the Premier League!”
Seri’s career started with ASEC Mimosas before he spent time on loan at Porto, where he turned out for the B team. After moving to Pacos de Ferreira, he caught the eye of Nice, where he blossomed under Claude Puel and then Lucien Favre, becoming one of the league’s standout players.
Nice club-mate Maxime Le Marchand, a versatile defender, is expected to join him at Craven Cottage in the days ahead.
Source : Goal