West Brom were today braced for a fight over Isaiah Brown after rejecting Chelsea’s opening bid for the teenager.
The Baggies issued a strongly-worded statement questioning the midfielder’s move to Stamford Bridge and threatening to take the matter to an FA tribunal to decide a fee.
Brown is already training with the London club and Albion are powerless to prevent him moving, but they are ready to hold out for a bigger fee after turning down the Blues’ initial bid.
West Brom sporting & technical director Richard Garlick said: “We are disappointed by Chelsea’s offer.
"We have invested a lot of time and money in Isaiah’s development as a player and – as one of our most exciting academy products in recent years – we had hoped to bring him through into our first-team.
“But Chelsea have forced our hands and we are more than prepared for the matter to be decided by a tribunal if needs be.
“More importantly, it makes you question why these young players are joining bigger clubs when they are likely to gain more first-team opportunities in the Premier League at clubs similar to us.”
Meanwhile, West Brom today shrugged off reports from Argentina that midfielder Claudio Yacob is a potential target for Belgian champions Anderlecht.
The Baggies have no plans to sell the Argentina international and do not believe he would be tempted to give up Premier League football and wages, despite Anderlecht’s presence in the Champions League.
Claims in Ukraine that Albion are monitoring Dnipro winger Yevhen Konoplyanka are also thought to be untrue.