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Albion braced for Bridcutt departure
Albion are bracing themselves for the departure of Liam Bridcutt to the Premier League during the January transfer window.
Bridcutt is on course to link back up with his old boss Gus Poyet at Sunderland.
The rock-bottom Black Cats could face competition from other clubs in the lower half of the Premier League table for the Seagulls’ highly rated defensive midfielder.
Poyet is keen to land Bridcutt in an attempt to boost Sunderland’s survival hopes.
The competitive Lee Cattermole and Swansea loan signing Ki Sung-Yueng have both performed well for the Uruguayan in the holding role.
But Poyet is eager to sign another central midfielder familiar with his playing style who could settle in quickly once the transfer window opens.
A reported £2 million bid to lure Bridcutt away in January will fall short of Albion’s valuation of their player-of-the-season for the last two years.
Agreeing a fee could be a stumbling block, especially after Poyet’s acrimonious departure from Albion in the summer, but the Seagulls will not stand in the way of Bridcutt fulfilling his wish to play in the top flight providing the price is right.
Although losing him would be a blow, it would be cushioned by the emergence this season of Rohan Ince. Poyet’s successor Oscar Garcia also has the experience of Keith Andrews to call upon on loan from Bolton for the rest of the campaign.
Bridcutt, targeted by Crystal Palace in August, confirmed earlier this month his ambition to become a Premier League player. He also admitted it would be hard to turn an opportunity down.
Bridcutt’s wages would multiply with a switch to the Stadium of Light or another Premier League club.
Family considerations, coupled with Sunderland’s perilous position at the foot of the table, might persuade the Reading-born 24-year-old to stay further South if West Brom, Norwich, Aston Villa or Fulham - all clubs linked with him previously - rival Sunderland’s interest.
Bridcutt, back in the Albion side after hernia surgery, will skipper the team again at Charlton on Boxing Day if Gordon Greer (calf) is still sidelined and will then make his 150th appearance for the Seagulls at Blackpool on Sunday.
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