Two clubs need to agree a fee with Seri and La Liga already agreeing personal terms on four-year contract
BARCELONA are closing in on a deal to sign Nice star Jean-Michael Seri, according to reports in France.
But the deal has hit a hitch, with Barca facing an inflated fee after finding out his £36million release clause has EXPIRED.
According to French newspaper L’Equipe, Barca and Seri have already agreed personal terms on a lucrative new contract.
The Ivory Coast international, 26, will sign a four-year deal at the Nou Camp.
But while a £36m offer would have secured his services just last week, that will no longer be enough.
Nice are expected to ask for much more given the number of clubs chasing their star man.
Arsenal and Liverpool have been linked with Seri, but Barcelona are at the front of the queue for the energetic midfielder.
However, Nice general manager Julien Fournier has denied Seri is set for the exit.
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“We haven’t negotiated with Barca nor do I know of any negotiations lined up in the next few days. They’re just rumours, so we haven’t set a price for Seri,” Fournier told Diario Sport.
“I think the player will stay with us this season. It’s true that he is open to listening to offers but he’s also happy at Nice whether we qualify for the group stages of the Champions League or not.”
Seri has been compared to N’Golo Kante – the man he replaced at Nice two years ago.
The 26-year-old stands at just 5ft 5in, but covers the ground like Kante, is strong in the tackle and good on the ball.
Barcelona are in the midst of a crisis after seeing Neymar leave for a world record £198m to Paris Saint-Germain.
They are desperately searching for a replacement, with Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho their top target.
But the Reds have rejected three offers for the Brazilian – the latest of which could have cost £118m.
Some reports claim that the La Liga giants have now ended their interest in the star, having set Liverpool a deadline on Sunday night that came and went.
Borussia Dortmund youngster Ousmane Dembele has also been linked.
Nice face Napoli in the second leg of their Champions League qualifier on Tuesday evening – Napoli lead 2-0.
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