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.