ALBION have snubbed a substantial bid from Newcastle for winger Anthony Knockaert.

The offer has been firmly rejected as chairman Tony Bloom maintains his stance of trying to keep together the squad that went so close to promotion to the Premier League last season.

The Argus understands Newcastle are prepared to pay between £6 million and £10 million for ex-Leicester wide man Knockaert, who returned to English football with the Seagulls from Belgian club Standard Liege in January for around £2.6 million.

Bloom has already turned down big profit-making bids this summer of £5 million from Crystal Palace for centre-half Lewis Dunk together with three from Burnley for midfielder Dale Stephens, the latest around £5 million.

Albion had braced themselves for interest in influential players in Chris Hughton’s squad and Bloom is determined to do everything within his power to keep them intact in pursuit of another challenge for promotion from the Championship.

Knockaert has been an instant hit since signing a three-and-a-half year deal with the Seagulls.

The 24-year-old livewire scored five goals in 19 league outings last season and set up several more for team-mates.

Big-spending Newcastle are hot favourites for an instant return to the Premier League under Rafa Benitez.

They have already splashed out £12 million on Bournemouth winger Matt Ritchie, £10 million on Crystal Palace striker Dwight Gayle and around £6 million on Blackburn central defender Grant Hanley.

Benitez has combined the capture of players with a track record in the Championship with further heavy spending on Jesus Gamez from Atletico Madrid, Arsenal’s Issac Hayden and Gent goalkeeper Matz Sels.

The £25 million sale of Dutchman Georginio Wijnaldum to Liverpool has paved the way for another flurry of activity, with Knockaert a top target.