Albion's deal to bring Stephen Ward back to the Amex has been hijacked by Premier League newcomers Burnley.
Ward was due at the Amex yesterday afternoon for a medical after the Seagulls had finally agreed a fee with Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The Republic of Ireland left-back had also agreed personal terms but failed to show up with his representative, leaving boss Sami Hyypia and Albion officials fuming.
Ward, 29 next week, has been Albion’s No.1 target for the problem position all summer following a successful loan spell throughout last season.
The Seagulls pushed the boat out to land him, reluctantly agreeing to Wolves’ demand for a six-figure fee as well as meeting his £13,000-a-week wages.
Wanderers manager Kenny Jackett, speaking yesterday afternoon, confirmed: “The clubs have agreed and now it’s down to Brighton and the player.
“It is a good move for him, he did well last year, they got into the top six and he was part of it.
“They have wanted him all along and we have moved on.”
Now Burnley are thought to have also agreed a fee, of around £500,000, to snatch him from Albion’s grasp and Ward is expected to move to Turf Moor instead.
The Seagulls are already switching their attention to other targets for the left-back position, where they have been lacking a permanent signing for two years.
Wayne Bridge was on loan for a season from Manchester City prior to Ward but then signed for Reading before retiring through injury.
Inigo Calderon or Adam Chicksen will fill the role at Birmingham tomorrow.