Will Ivory Coast’s Jean Seri be enough for Fulham?

With his midfield boxing ability and agility, he looks exactly like what Fulham needs but has had since the beginning of the season.
— Simiso Shabangu, FirstTouch Africa

Sometimes when a ship sinks, it’s not all the mighty men that are called out for help, but rather many call upon the name of the captain. Fulham is finding itself in a similar position where relegation is looming closer than any possible win. With that threat slowly becoming a reality, players and fans have looked around and cast their eyes on Jean Michel Seri. Will the Ivorian be enough to stop what might befall the Cottagers or will he possibly go down together with the London ‘ship’.


Looming Danger

Jean Michael Seri poses with the Carling Goal of the Month Award for August 2018 at Fulham FC Training Ground on September 12, 2018 in New Malden, England.  (Sept. 11, 2018 - Source: Getty Images Europe)

Jean Michael Seri poses with the Carling Goal of the Month Award for August 2018 at Fulham FC Training Ground on September 12, 2018 in New Malden, England.

(Sept. 11, 2018 - Source: Getty Images Europe)

Fulham were recently promoted to the English Premier League after waiting for a while. In the 2015/2016 season, they finished 20th in the EFL Championship and were saved from relegation by 11 points. In typical water into wine staff, they got the “We are finally Premier League” card in June of this year. Even though they are stars in the current LilyWhites setup acquired for over £120 million in the summer, things are not looking good for the West Londoners as they are rock-bottom on the Premier League standings with a single win in 12 matches.

Technical Ability

With his midfield boxing ability and agility, he looks exactly like what Fulham needs but has had since the beginning of the season. His former coach, Slavisa Jokanovic, who just got axed was quoted saying, “Fulham does not have players like that, so he has come as the right answer.” The talented midfielder is physically fit in a way that is worthy of the Premier League which is arguably the most demanding league in Europe. He knows how to snatch the ball from the opponent while possessing the ability to shoot  from distance. Above that, he is quite acquainted with the 3-5-2 or 4-2-3 formations that demand very gifted midfielders like himself. With what he has to offer, is it enough for him to help his team survive the chop? It is argued that if a player has the ability to play in the formation that most teams in the league play, then victory is not something that is far off. It is also a bit too early in the league to draw conclusions about relegation in the league as we are only 12 games into it. A lot can still change and Seri can still show up more for the Cottagers.

Bigger Challenge

Riyad Mahrez of Leicester City shakes hands with manager Claudio Ranieri as he is replaced during the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Leicester City at Selhurst Park on March 19, 2016 in London, United Kingdom.  (March 18, 2016 - Source: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images Europe)

Riyad Mahrez of Leicester City shakes hands with manager Claudio Ranieri as he is replaced during the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Leicester City at Selhurst Park on March 19, 2016 in London, United Kingdom.

(March 18, 2016 - Source: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images Europe)

The challenge is that the issue of relegation does not come as a result of one player and cannot be solved by individuals. Tim Sherwood, the former Tottenham manager cited the lack of quality of players in the squad as a reason for the relegation fears. He said the problem even goes beyond the way they play but it lies deeply with the caliber of players that they have bought. What that then means is that in spite of how good the 27-year-old Jean Serri can be, he cannot save his team from relegation. After all, he is just a midfielder, who takes up so much space of the field and cannot be a complete squad on his own. Furthermore, Fulham also spent over £120 million purchasing new players into the team. Having a lot of new players is coin toss as you have may people who are not accustomed to the style of play of the team. Being a great player is one thing, but being merged into the culture of a team is a game changer. With all the challenges that the team is facing, it becomes even more evident that the talent and dedication of the Ivorian midfielder may not enough to save the day.


The final word, though, is that the talks about relegation might be a bit premature at this point. A single game can change a team’s course. We will sit back and see if the highly rated Jean Michel Seri who previously attracted the likes of Arsenal and Barcelona before eventually switching to West London, will be enough to avert Fulham’s relegation. Additionally, the sacking of Slavisa Jokanovic and appointment of Claudio Ranieri who led Leicester City to a fairytale premier league title in the 2015/16 season could be an interesting plot twist for Fulham and Seri. Other African players such as Riyad Mahrez and Jeffrey Schlupp shined under Ranieri’s tenure at the Foxes. Seri and Fulham may be the latest beneficiaries of his abilities and experience, or not.


We will be watching.