Albion are ready to take the plunge in the January sales to boost their Championship promotion challenge.

And boss Gus Poyet has warned rival clubs they will have to pay a premium to snare any of his stars.

Poyet and chairman Tony Bloom are not big fans of the January transfer window but the Seagulls are prepared to do business at the right price for the right player.

That could mean ending their long search for a target man to catapult them up the table in similar vein to Reading, who landed Jason Roberts in January last year on their way to the title from seventh spot in mid-December.

Poyet told The Argus: “We are trying to look for that player that is perfect for us and even though in January we don’t like it we will do it because it’s a great opportunity. If that opportunity comes we will do business, no doubt.

“The problem is it needs to be the one, not just bringing in a body for the sake of it. If the right player is available and we can afford him we will bring him.

“It makes an impact, especially the way that we are playing. If we can maintain the way we are playing and add a couple of things in key positions it should make a big difference.”

Former Albion wingers Elliott Bennett and Craig Noone were targeted by Norwich and Cardiff respectively in the previous two January windows before eventually joining those clubs.

Fellow wide man Will Buckley, Spanish defender Bruno, midfield general Liam Bridcutt and top scorer Craig Mackail-Smith, who nearly joined Norwich in August, could all attract interest but Poyet believes Albion are now better equipped to hold on to their best players, because the wage gap has narrowed.

He said: “We are able to do a bit better in terms of wages and that can compensate. Of course, if a Premiership team comes in then you have got a massive problem.

“The only difference is they are going to have to pay a little bit more, because apparently we are the only reasonable ones. The rest are all expensive so we are going to be expensive.

“I am not saying a number, because the chairman will be upset with me for saying too much, but they are going to be expensive. We respect the players’ wishes but now we will be playing the game everybody else is, because I see too many players being sold for fortunes.”