Southampton boss keen to reunite with diminutive Ivorian magician

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New Southampton boss Claude Puel has already brought in midfield talents Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Nathan Redmond to replace the departed Sadio Mane and Victor Wanyama, and he may be set to add one more midfield maestro by reuniting with OGC Nice star Jean Michael Seri.

The pocket-sized Ivorian was brought to France by the current Saints boss last summer after two impressive years with Portuguese side Pacos de Ferreira, and was arguably Nice’s best player last season, chipping in with six assists and three goals in Ligue 1.

Despite his size, the man with four Ivory Coast caps possesses a good deal of physical strength, meaning he would be unlikely to struggle with the rough-and-tumble of the Premier League.

But his main strength is as a creator, with the 25-year-old boasting a fantastic range of passing, as well as the pace to get in behind defences, qualities he showed to deadly effect throughout last season – most notably as Lyon’s tormentor in chief as Les Aiglons thrashed the seven-time champions 3-0.

And with the Saints needing to balance a Europa League campaign with domestic duties this season, adding another classy midfielder to their ranks could be a fantastic bit of business from the new gaffer.

With Transfermarkt.co.uk estimating the Nice man’s market value at £4.68m, he would also be well within his budget. If Puel is to move for his former star, the French boss should certainly move sooner rather than later, with Seri’s price tag sure to rise if he continues to impress for club and country.

For the Saints players, the focus will be on Friday night’s game at Old Trafford. It’s 7/1 for the south coast club to taste victory – an excellent price considering they’ve won on both of their last two visits.

Meanwhile, it’s 10/1 they repeat the feat of a top-six Premier League finish, while it’s 28s that they build on last season’s success and chalk up a top-four finish.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Dave Burin

Dave graduated with an MA in English Literature at Durham University, and worked in marketing before joining the Ladbrokes News team. A Man United fan and avid groundhopper, he’s also an ardent follower of Rugby League. You can usually find him at a ground near you, clutching a big cup of tea.