Albion boss Gus Poyet is “praying” Leonardo Ulloa can get a Spanish passport so that he can sign the Argentinian striker.

The Argus revealed yesterday Almeria marksman Ulloa was a target for the Seagulls in August and is again now that the January transfer window has opened.

The powerful 26-year-old has been in Spain long enough to qualify for dual nationality but unless the passport issue is resolved Albion cannot, under UK immigration legislation, get a work permit for Ulloa to play for them.

Poyet told The Argus: “It’s the main part, because we cannot do anything until he becomes European. It doesn’t matter how much you move or do or how much you want him if he doesn’t qualify to play in England.

“We don’t know how long it will take. The same thing happened in August. We are just praying that he can get the passport tomorrow and then we can move quickly and maybe have a chance to get him. If not we will have to move for somebody else and the danger is you can lose those options, so it’s a bit tricky but I hope we are going to get one (striker). We need to, we have to.

“I think we have got or three great options. It could be a week, or ten days or the 30th of January. I would like it to be Saturday (Newcastle in the FA Cup) but sometimes you don’t know. But it’s close, I think very close.”

Albion, meanwhile, have received no offers so far for star players like Craig Mackail-Smith, who scored along with Dean Hammond and Wayne Bridge in yesterday’s 3-0 win at Ipswich.

Poyet said: “People are asking me continually when somebody is going to leave. I am surprised because nobody has made an offer or approach.”