Liverpool have taken the lead in the £35million battle for Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri.
The Ivorian, 26, has been on Manchester United’s radar since his proposed move to Barcelona collapsed last year.
Barca agreed personal terms but refused to meet Nice’s valuation — and sources say United also believe Seri is expensive.
Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera can both play in Seri’s main role as a holding midfielder, while youngster Scott McTominay has broken through.
But with Emre Can on the way out of Anfield this summer, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is on the hunt for a replacement.
Juventus are favourites to sign Can when his contract comes to an end.
Klopp can already count on the £48m arrival of Naby Keita from RB Leipzig after his deal was sorted last summer.
And he is eyeing Southampton’s Mario Lemina to partner the Guinea captain in the middle.
Arsenal and Tottenham also rate Seri, known as the N’Golo Kante of Nice.
But Klopp — who still has money to spend after the £145m sale of Philippe Coutinho — is anxious to add more dynamism at the Kop.
James Milner, at 32, is now in the veteran stage of his career.
Klopp has admitted that he does not have the buying power of some rivals.
But it is thought they have what it takes to land Seri.