Albion have handed Chelsea prospect George Cole the chance to earn a contract.

The 18-year-old attacking midfielder will link up with Sami Hyypia’s Seagulls next week when the players report back for pre-season training at the club’s new £30 million academy complex in Lancing.

The trial period will give new boss Hyypia, first team coach Nathan Jones and development coach Simon Ireland a chance to have a look at Cole before deciding whether to take him on the trip to Spain next month.

Albion face competition from Championship rivals Ipswich and promoted Brentford for the flame-haired Cole, who is out of contract at Stamford Bridge in September.

He played for Albion’s development team last season and impressed enough to be invited back.

Basildon-born Cole has been at Chelsea since the age of 11. He made his under-18 debut as an under 15 but his progress was interrupted last season by a hip injury. Cole knows there is little chance of breaking through into the first team at Chelsea.

The England under-16 and under-17 international could follow the same path as Liam Bridcutt and Rohan Ince, both of whom left Chelsea for Albion.

Bridcutt has since joined Sunderland but Rohan Ince took over his defensive midfield role last season under Oscar Garcia and is also likely to have a big part to play under Hyypia.