It was all set for Jean Michaël Seri to join FC Barcelona, and then, he didn’t. What happened? There was a lot of confusion at the time, but according to a few reports, the reason was because his club tried to raise his price at the eleventh hour.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5, French journalist Julien Laurens said Seri’s club Nice raised the price from 40 million to 50 million at the last moment, and that’s the only reason the Catalan club pulled out:
He has that unofficial release clause of 40 million euros in his contract, and Barça said ‘OK, we’ve watched him so many times, he suits our club perfectly. We want Seri.’ They come in with 40 million, and then the Nice hierarchy goes ‘Do you know what, today it’s 50 million for him and not 40 anymore.’ ... And Barça were like ‘you don’t do that, you don’t move the goalposts like that. You said he was 40, we bring you 40, and then you say it’s 50.’ And that’s the only reason he didn’t end up at Barcelona. And you have to feel for the guy who cried, he actually properly physically cried, because the move didn’t happen to Barcelona.
Listen to the full show here.
This information mainly confirms what Seri himself had said:
I went to the offices of Nice to see the leaders to know what had happened. Then I exploded! I assure you the walls trembled. The leaders of my club did not tell me anything, not even look me in the eye. It was clear that something had happened: they promised me one thing and then it turned out that they did not keep their promise, asking for more money for me.
Seri’s agent, Franklin Mala, said back in the summer that Paris Saint-Germain were to blame for this because they wanted to “f—k Barça” A report in The Guardian stated that the “unofficial release clause” did not apply to domestic competition. That convinced PSG to offer more than the 40 million, which ultimately caused the Catalans to withdraw.