PARIS: The president of French club Nice has said the collapse of midfielder Jean Michael Seri’s mooted move to Barcelona was entirely down to the Spanish giants.
Speaking to French television station Canal Plus on Sunday, Jean-Pierre Rivere said he received a phonecall from Nice’s director general on Wednesday, August 23 to tell him that Barcelona were pulling the plug on the transfer.
He added: “In the afternoon, Josep Bartomeu (the Barcelona president), sounding a bit embarrassed, says to me: ‘Jean-Pierre, this is the first time this has happened to us, our technical staff have decided not to do Seri. It is absolutely not a problem with money.’”
The Ivory Coast international midfielder had a contract ready with Barcelona, Rivere added, with French press reports saying Nice stood to make up to 40 million euros ($47.5 million, £36.7 million) from a transfer.
That figure corresponded to the amount of a release clause written into his contract.
Seri, 26, last week gave an interview to Catalan sports daily Mundo Deportivo in which he pointed the finger at Nice for the collapse of the deal, saying they had upped their asking price at the last minute.
“It was clear what had happened. They had promised me one thing, but didn’t keep their word and asked for more money,” he declared.
The transfer window in Spain closed on Friday after a summer which saw Barcelona lose Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain for a world-record 222 million euros while Ousmane Dembele arrived from Borussia Dortmund for a fee that could rise to 145 million euros.
The Catalans also signed Gerard Deulofeu from Everton, Paulinho from Guangzhou Evergrande and Nelson Semedo from Benfica.