Albion have targeted Bournemouth’s £1 million hotshot Lewis Grabban as they prepare to splash the cash in January from the sale of Ashley Barnes to Burnley.
Grabban is high on the Seagulls’ list of possible replacements for Barnes, who joined Burnley on Friday in a deal worth around £750,000.
The Argus understands the Cherries’ marksman has a release clause in his recently signed contract permitting him to speak to another club if they offer £1.1 million.
That has alerted Albion and others willing to test Bournemouth’s resolve to hold on to their leading goalscorer.
Bournemouth lost the services of a senior striker today when Wes Thomas joined Rotherham for an undisclosed fee.
Grabban’s career has taken off since joining Bournemouth from Rotherham for £300,000 two summers ago.
The former Crystal Palace and Millwall forward, who celebrated his 26th birthday on Sunday, helped them to promotion from League One last season.
He has scored ten goals in 24 outings for Albion’s South Coast Championship rivals this season, including a penalty in the 1-1 draw at The Amex on New Year’s Day when he impressed as a lone front man.
Grabban signed a contract extension in November through to June 2016. Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe said at the time: “I think he has grown to the level.
“There are question marks when you gain promotion over how certain individuals will perform and no one can ever predict that but he is someone who has really made the most of the opportunity.”
The Argus revealed last week that Cardiff’s Joe Mason is on Albion’s target list of strikers.
The departure of Barnes has left the Seagulls short of ammunition to support Argentinian ace Leo Ulloa, signed in the January 2013 window from Spanish club Almeria for around £2 million.
That was the last significant transfer fee paid by Albion and they are ready to strike again in the new year, using the Barnes funds to help cement their push for the play-offs after moving up to sixth with Saturday’s 1-0 win against Birmingham at The Amex.
Jonathan Obika, a temporary replacement for Leroy Lita following his return to parent club Swansea, made his debut on loan from Spurs as a second half substitute for Ulloa against Birmingham.
The other strikers in Oscar Garcia’s squad, Craig Mackail-Smith and Will Hoskins, remain on the long-term injured list.