OGC Nice have accused Barcelona of "messing up" Jean Michael Seri after his proposed move to the La Liga giants broke down in the final weeks of the summer transfer window.
Seri, 26, had been tipped to complete what he described as a "dream move" to the Nou Camp this summer. Barcelona were poised to activate his €40m (£36.8m) release clause following the conclusion of Nice's Champions League qualifier against Napoli, but the morning after that second-leg clash, it emerged the club had decided to suddenly end their interest in the player due to reservations held by the Barcelona technical staff.
Technical director Robert Fernandez later confirmed the club's decision, explaining they had instead moved onto other targets.
Prior to Fernandez's comments, Seri attacked Nice, accusing his club of breaking their promise to do business with Barcelona for his agreed release clause – thereby putting the deal in real jeopardy.
Seri's advisor later played down his client's claims, insisting a good relationship between player and club still exists. The Ligue 1 side have now laid the blame for the farce directly at Barcelona's feet, accusing the club of misleading their player.
"On Wednesday morning, Julien Fournier [Nice's managing director] called me early and said, 'Jean-Pierre, I don't understand. I just got a call from Barcelona, they told me they're stopping with Micka [Seri], Nice president Jean-Pierre Reiviere told Canal+, as reported by ESPN.
"In the afternoon, I got hold of [Barcelona president] Josep Bartomeu, a little embarrassed, who told me: 'Jean-Pierre, it's the first time that this has happened to us, but our technical staff have decided not to do Micka Seri. It's absolutely not a problem of money.'
"On the Thursday morning, it was confirmed definitively: they won't be going for Micka Seri.
"And it's then that things go off. I said to Barca, 'You have messed up one of my players,' because there was a contract ready. I put myself in the place of Micka: it's his dream to go to Barca, and overnight it's broken."
The debacle surrounding Seri's failed move to the Nou Camp is just one of many horror stories to emerge from what was a disastrous summer for Ernesto Valverde's side. Having failed to sign early targets Marco Verratti and Hector Bellerin, the club then lost Brazil superstar Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain in a world record deal despite club vice president Jordi Mestre declaring he was "200%" sure the forward would not leave.
Amid calls for president Josep Maria Bartomeu to resign, Barcelona signed Ousmane Dembele in a deal that could rise to £135.5m – just a year after Borussia Dortmund signed him from Rennes for just £14m.
And despite general manager Pep Segura claiming the club were "close" to signing Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho, the Catalan giants failed in their bid to bring the Brazilian to the club. In one final embarrassing blow the day after the Spanish transfer window closed, Barcelona claimed Liverpool had demanded €200m for their player – a claim denied by the Merseyside club who insisted there position that Coutinho is not for sale at any price had not change.