MANCHESTER UNITED have stepped up their interest in Jean Michael Seri as Jose Mourinho makes strengthening his midfield options his biggest priority.
United boss Mourinho is aware he is facing a major upheaval in his squad over the close season with the centre of the pitch the a key area of concern.
And Nice star Seri is one of the main targets for the summer as Mourinho starts to drill down on the players he will demand Ed Woodward signs.
The Ivory Coast star has been watched on several occasions over the course of the past few months with positive reports coming back.
And the Mail say Mourinho instructed his top scout to watch the 26-year-old in action on Thursday night in the Europa League clash with Lokomotiv Moscow.
Head of scouting Marcel Bout was in the crowd at the Allianz Riviera as Nice lost 3-2, but Seri is understood to have shown up well despite the disappointing result.
And it appears to be becoming increasingly likely that Seri will be a player Mourinho tells the club they should attempt to sign ahead of the next campaign.
A host of clubs across Europe have been keeping tabs on the Nice star, with Barcelona enquiring about his availability last year without following up with a firm offer.
It is believed Seri has a release clause in his current contract with Nice – set at £33million – a figure that would make him relatively cheap given the inflated state of the market.
And with United possibly needing to bring in three midfield players over the course of the summer, that would provide extra incentive to get a deal done.
Mourinho knows there will be changes to his midfield options in his squad this summer with Michael Carrick retiring from the game this summer.
There are still doubts whether Marouane Fellaini will take up the offer of a new deal, with interest in him from Besiktas and also Paris Saint-Germain.
There are also still long-term doubts whether Ander Herrera is a player able to help the club push for the Premier League title next season.
Juan Mata is another who could be heading out of Old Trafford if he decides he wants to be playing more regularly.
So United could be in the market for as many as three midfield players this summer along with a top class defender.