Gus Poyet fears Albion have been priced out of a move for Virgil van Dijk to cure their centre-half crisis.

The manager is also guarded about the Seagulls finding a permanent solution to the shortage before the January transfer window closes tomorrow night.

Groningen have turned down two undisclosed bids from Albion for van Dijk, right. The second, believed to be about £2 million, was lodged on Monday after Poyet flew to Holland on Sunday to the watch the highly-rated Dutch under-21 international in action.

That still falls well short of Groningen’s valuation of a player they are desperate to keep hold of to help their fight against relegation from the Dutch First Division.

Poyet told The Argus: “It’s not easy, because of the price. He’s not a player I think we can afford, or it doesn’t look like it.

“We are talking about a defender who is in the team and we have tried to give a value. Apparently our valuation is not enough.

“I cannot see it happening unless there is a big change in their approach. We are trying to look at other names, other possibilities. That is the only option we’ve got, to buy or to loan.

“I would like to bring someone permanent but if it’s not possible then it’s not possible. It doesn’t look as if anyone is going to come at the moment.”

Adam El-Abd is currently Albion’s only recognised central defender, with skipper Gordon Greer ruled out for three weeks by a hamstring injury and Lewis Dunk involved in a court case at the Old Bailey.

Inigo Calderon will fill in again at Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday if the Seagulls do not make a signing, with David at right-back or Bruno if he is fit-again after Achilles trouble.

Meanwhile, Albion have received no bids for their key players and Poyet hopes it stays that way up to the 11pm deadline.

Liam Bridcutt has been the subject of speculation linking him with several league clubs this month and the defensive midfielder was outstanding again in the FA Cup defeat by Arsenal at The Amex.

Poyet said: “We need him. Like me, if I don’t go up with Brighton to the Premiership in a few years I am going to go to the Premiership, that’s my aim, somehow I need to get there. And I suppose Liam Bridcutt is the same.

“So either we do it together or we need to do it on our own, so we’ll see what the future brings.”