West Brom are ready to hold out for £1.5million for striker Chris Wood after interest from the Championship in the New Zealand international hotted up.
Brighton are among the clubs ready to rival Millwall for the in-form 21-year-old’s signature, with the Baggies hoping a January bidding war will drive up the value of any deal.
Millwall, for whom Wood has hit 10 goals in 17 starts during a successful loan spell, have already tabled a £1million bid for the Hawthorns academy graduate.
But West Brom have fielded enquiries from several other Championship sides including Brighton, where Wood spent six months on loan in the 2010-11 season and against whom he netted twice last night.
Wood seems likely to leave the Hawthorns permanently in January with his contract due to expire next summer and little indication that he figures in the club's long-term plans.
But the Baggies are determined to drive a hard bargain for a player they plucked from junior football in his homeland and nurtured in their academy.
Brighton manager Gus Poyet all but confirmed his club’s interest, although the Seagulls are not yet thought to have lodged a formal bid.
He said: “We had him here when he was very young and we helped each other. He helped us a lot with his power and his goals.
"I think we did our job as well to put him in shape, because he was still growing up. I think he is a much better player now.
"He is mature, he has learnt a lot about the game in England. He is playing week in week out, so he’s much better. I’m not surprised at all.”
Wood has been a hit at Millwall, whose chairman John Berylson has confirmed a firm offer.
Lions manager Kenny Jackett said: “He is a player we would definitely like to pursue once his loan expires. Would that be a permanent deal? Yes.”Subscribe to our Newsletter