Manchester United are reportedly considering Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri, as Paul Pogba's long-term future at the club is becoming more uncertain.
David McDonnell of the Mirror reported the relationship between manager Jose Mourinho and Pogba has become "increasingly strained," and the former Juventus star could leave Old Trafford if the pair fail to settle their immediate differences.
Seri has remained on the Red Devils' radar for several months, and the club could make a move for the player if Pogba departs the Theatre of Dreams.
Per McDonnell, Seri has a £35 million buyout clause in his contract, and the fee would represent excellent value in the summer, when he is expected to leave the Ligue 1 team.
Pogba has failed to impress after injury and suspension, and United have stuttered in midfield after the heavy Christmas match schedule.
The France international was expected to bring flair and creativity to United after returning to the club after a successful spell at Juve, but Mourinho has opted to shackle the midfielder in an increasingly reserved formation.
Pogba has often anchored the midfield with Nemanja Matic, and this has restricted the player's influence in attack.
Football writer Liam Canning implored Mourinho to play Pogba on the front foot:
Seri has the type of engine Mourinho adores, and he would bring exuberance and energy to the core of the team next term.
However, Pogba's long-term potential remains untapped, and United fans would be mortified to lose the superstar for a second time.
Here is Seri in action:
Whether Pogba stays or goes, United need a player of Seri's skill set. He is an individual who can dictate tempo and cover every blade of grass.
As Michael Carrick winds down his career in Manchester, Seri would be a ready-made replacement for the veteran, providing composure and possession in abundance.
Seri would complement Pogba if the duo were paired together, and a dynamic 4-3-3 could be set by the manager as he opens the door to a more progressive style.
Pogba needs a player to dictate the centre for him, and Seri would provide more mobility than the lumbering style of Matic.
ESPN's Mark Ogden highlighted the similarities between Pogba and former United midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron, who struggled after his big-money move from Italy:
Despite the criticism surrounding Pogba, the 24-year-old has nine assists in 17 Premier League appearances this season, raising the question of how good could he be if he played closer to the striker.
However, Mourinho continues to frustrate United supporters in the Stretford End who crave more attacking football, rather than constant functionality from a talented squad.
United need to make Pogba and Alexis Sanchez the heartbeat of the side and bring in a player such as Seri to improve the balance, which is needed in midfield.