Albion's club record bid to sign goalkeeper Maty Ryan has the backing of the last Australian to play for the club.

Former midfielder Paul Reid has first hand experience of the Valencia custodian's all-round capabilities.

Reid, a promotion play-off winner with the Seagulls, also has a character reference for the Australian No.1 Albion are trying to bring to the Premier League from La Liga in Spain for a fee in the region of £5 million.

Reid (below) who played for Albion from 2004-08, came across Ryan at the end of his playing career after going back home.The Argus:

He told The Argus: "I played against him in my last year at Sydney FC in the 2012-13 season when he was only a 20-year-old.

"He was still only very young at the time for a goalkeeper, but I remember how confident he was which was great to see.

"His best attributes when I played against him were how athletic he was, that he was a great shot stopper and very comfortable using both feet when distributing the ball out from the back, even knocking long balls to full-backs and wingers with great accuracy.

"The Socceroos now often use him as a spare man and an outlet when playing out from the back."

Albion chief executive Paul Barber and head of recruitment Paul Winstanley flew to Valencia last week for talks with Ryan's employers.

He still has four years left of a lucrative six-year contract, but has struggled for game time since the exit of Gary Neville and Marcelino García Toral, appointed last month as the 11th manager in five years at the Mestalla, favours domestic keepers.

Reid believes Ryan would fit in well in the tight-knit dressing room at the Amex.

He said: "After speaking to some of the Sydney FC coaching staff who actually coached him when he played at Central Coast Mariners, they also emphasised how good his work ethic is in training and that he is always wanting to improve and become a better goalkeeper.

"They also said that, most importantly, he is a great guy and his character will ensure he fits into any dressing room."

Albion face competition from other top flight European clubs for Ryan, who impressed on loan to Genk in Belgium this season.

The deal is complex but they are in pole position to land the 25-year-old as he prepares for Australia's friendly against Brazil at Melbourne Cricket Ground tomorrow morning UK time.

Ryan would not be the first Australian between the posts for Albion.

The Argus: Andy Petterson (above) made nine appearances for the club at Withdean under Martin Hinshelwood and Steve Coppell in 2002 when they were in the Championship.

Petterson, now 47, served 15 current English League clubs. He was technical director of ECU Joondalup in Australia for four years before moving to Ilocos United FC in the Philippine Premier League in March.

Other Australians to have represented Albion, as well as Reid, are midfielders Nick Ward (2006-07) and David Clarkson (1991-2).

The first was striker Alistair Edwards, who made one appearance on loan from Sydney Olympic in 1989-90.

Ryan's potential switch to Albion would be another boost to the huge popularity of the Premier League Down Under.

Australia had more than a dozen players in the top flight in England during their golden generation at the beginning of the 21st century, which included Ryan's boyhood idol Mark Schwarzer, new Crawley manager Harry Kewell (below) and Mark Viduka.

The Argus: The numbers are creeping up again. Midfielder Aaron Mooy, another Albion target and international team-mate of Ryan, has joined Adam Federici and Brad Smith (Bournemouth) and Aiden O'Neill (Burnley) in the Premier League after signing for Manchester City last summer and helping Huddersfield to promotion alongside the Seagulls via the play-offs on a season-long loan.

Meanwhile, Reid remains heavily involved in Australian football - four years after hanging up his top flight boots.

The qualified radiographer, who came off the bench in Albion's League One play-off final triumph against Bristol City in Cardiff in 2004 at the start of his four-year stint with the club, quit the A-League with Sydney FC in 2013.

The 37-year-old married father-of-two is now the Community Football Manager of Sydney, which has ten affiliated Football Associations and nearly 300 grassroots clubs.

He is also player-coach of semi-professional club Rockdale City Suns and coach of Aston under-9s at Lilli Pilli FC, who play in one of the associations affiliated to Sydney.