Liverpool and Manchester City are set to go head-to-head for the signing of Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri, who looked set to leave the Ligue 1 outfit for La Liga leaders Barcelona during the summer.
Seri emerged as one of the most effective central midfielders in France last season and was the driving force behind Nice's unlikely title charge. The 26-year-old scored seven goals and provided nine assists for Lucien Favre's men, who have certainly failed to scale the heights they reached last season in the current campaign.
Seri's form predictably attracted suitors in the summer, with Arsenal and Barcelona the most notable interested parties. The Ivorian international was widely expected to leave the Allianz Riviera as a result of said interest, but a £36.8m ($49.25m) switch to Barcelona stalled and he ended up remaining with Nice.
A move to the Camp Nou is now unlikely after Nice president Jean-Pierre Riviere accused Barca of "messing up" Seri by failing to complete a move, while the player himself quashed talk of a move away in January.
Given Nice's current plight Seri will almost certainly be available for transfer at the end of the season, with Liverpool and City ready to pounce on the 26-year-old should he become available according to the Daily Mail.
Liverpool look increasingly likely to lose midfielder Emre Can to Juventus on a free transfer at the end of the season. The Germany international recently stated that he could well remain at Anfield beyond the summer and manager Jurgen Klopp is still hopeful of thrashing out an agreement with his compatriot, but the Reds are not prepared to insert a release clause into a prospective new deal.
RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita will arrive at Anfield in the summer after Liverpool managed to eventually agree a deal with the German outfit, but the Merseysiders have also scouted Seri on a number of occasions this season ahead of a potential summer switch.
With Fernandinho entering the twilight of his career, Ilkay Gundogan prone to injury and Yaya Toure coming to the end of his time at City, Pep Guardiola will be in the hunt for a new central midfielder in the summer. Like Liverpool, City have also sent scouts to watch Seri this season, while Paris Saint-Germain are also in the frame.