Albion have failed in a bold attempt to beat Premier League clubs to the signing of highly rated young Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk.

  The Seagulls made an undisclosed offer to top flight Dutch club Groningen for van Dijk in the last 24 hours but their bid for the 21-year-old has been rejected.

  Richard van Elsacker, Groningen's press officer, revealed to The Argus: "We can confirm there was a bid, which was made between yesterday and today, but we are not confirming the amount of the bid.

  "We have rejected the bid and our intention is for Virgil to play here for the rest of the season. He is one of our key players and we don't want to lose him during the winter period."

  Everton, Newcastle and Sunderland have all been linked with van Dijk, a Dutch under 21 international.

  Van Elsacker refused to say whether Groningen have received any other bids for the player.