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Arsenal are facing up to the prospect of missing out on Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri after he agreed a five-year contract with Italian giants Roma.
Arsene Wenger was spotted in Nice earlier this summer apparently trying to secure a deal for the talented Ivory Coast star, though his trip to the south coast of France appears to have been in vain.
Instead, it is Roma who are closing in on his signature according to French radio station RMC, having been given permission to speak to him last week by Nice.
The Italians are yet to agree a fee, however, and are readying a new and improved third bid of €35million (£30.6m) that is widely expected to be rejected.
Nice have informed all suitors that they will only agree to sell Seri when his €40m (£35m) release clause is met.
Nevertheless, Roma are confident of concluding a deal this week having thrashed out an agreement with Seri’s agent in Rome on Sunday.
The news is not only a blow for Arsenal but also Tottenham, with both north London clubs having identified the 25-year-old as a summer target.
He starred for Nice as they qualified for the Champions League, scoring seven goals and providing a further nine assists in an excellent Ligue 1 campaign.