<
>

Jean Michael Seri blasts Nice after Barcelona move collapses

play
Hislop: Barca in need of more than just Messi (2:49)

While Lionel Messi eclipsed the 350 goal mark in La Liga, Shaka Hislop is a bit worried Barca may over-rely on him. (2:49)

Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri has told El Mundo Deportivo he "exploded" with rage after his club bosses caused the collapse of his move to Barcelona, but said he would still be open to joining Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool or any of the "big European clubs."

Seri had been tipped to join Barca with the club apparently ready to trigger the reported €40 million buyout clause in the Ivory Coast midfielder's contract, and his price tag appeared to be confirmed in May by Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere, who said: "If a club offers €40m for Jean Michael tomorrow, he will leave."

However, Nice general manager Julien Fournier said last week that the Ligue 1 club "haven't set a price for Seri" and the player has accused club bosses of breaking their word and demanding more money.

His adviser later said his client had been "misinterpreted" in the interview, but Seri, who sat out Nice's 3-0 loss to Amiens at the weekend, was quoted as telling the Catalan newspaper: "I feel very bad. I'm not going to lie to you, I'm really hurt. For me, football has always been a party, a source of joy.

"I didn't play with Nice this weekend because I didn't have my head on football. My dream to go to Barca has been broken, and that -- for me -- is terrible.

"The conversations between the two clubs went from bad to worse. As far as I can tell, I've not left Nice due to financial reasons.

"After the [Champions League playoff against Napoli] I met with Barcelona's directors for more than an hour and they didn't tell me anything about not going through with signing me. I went home really happy; then the next day I read the news. I was stunned.

"I went to the Nice offices to see the board and find out what happened. I exploded! The walls shook. They didn't say anything to me, they didn't look me straight in the eye. They had promised me one thing, but didn't keep their word and asked for more money."

Seri's adviser later issued a statement to Azur-TV attempting to clarify his client's statement.

"Without doubt, Jean-Michael spoke without thinking. Too much has been read into this by the media, probably because of the language barrier -- even if the journalist spoke very good French," the statement read.

"Everybody knows that Barca is the club of his heart and that he was very disappointed that the move ultimately fell through. However, Jean-Michael respects Nice enormously as they are a club that has enabled him to experience the very highest level.

"Despite the situation, we maintain a very good relationship with Nice and their directors."

In the interview, Seri also said his agent had received a five-year contract offer from Barcelona, and rejected the suggestion the Catalan club had pulled out of the deal because of his below-par performance in Nice's loss to Napoli.

"Do you think it's true Barca would pay 30m for a player they don't know?" Seri asked.

The player's agent claimed last week that Paris Saint-Germain had called Nice and offered to pay more than €40m "to screw Barca over."

Seri, who was also linked with a move to Anfield earlier in the summer, said he would be open to joining PSG, Liverpool or another of the European giants, although he still hopes he could make a move to the Camp Nou.

"I want to be optimistic and think there are still options, that the clubs will sit down and talk calmly again and reach an agreement. We're not just talking about any club where you go just for money. I want to join one of the big European clubs, like Juventus, PSG, Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool...

"For example, Roma have made several offers. I have spoken many times to Monchi, but the transfer didn't happen for financial reasons. Monchi got tired of the Nice board! Roma is a good option, but nothing like Barca!"