ALBION will have to pay an inflated price for a striker in the January transfer window.

That is the warning from manager Chris Hughton about the knock-on effect of Virgil van Dijk’s big money move from Southampton to Liverpool.

The Dutchman, a former transfer target for the Seagulls, is moving to Anfield for £75 million, a world record fee for a defender.

Hughton told The Argus: “I think it’s good to see the value of the defensive side of the game. But unfortunately what it does is push everything else up.

“If we are talking about that much for a defender, people will value the defenders they’ve got in some ways accordingly.

“And you have to put it all into one pot. Once the figures start to increase as they have done then generally that is across the board.

“We saw that in the summer because of some of the big transfers. That crept everything else up to a degree. At some stage it will level out.

“January is a difficult period anyway, because anybody that wants to bring in in January there is a reason for that and clubs can hold onto players a little bit longer, look for a little bit more than they would have done.”

The up side of the van Dijk deal for Albion is a rise in the value of Lewis Dunk.

Hughton said: “We’ve no intentions of selling him. He has been fabulous for us this season. I have seen his development over three years and it has been excellent.

“Some of that is, of course, down to what the club provides for him, the platform and the team. Most of it is down to him. He works extremely hard, doesn’t miss many days training, and has listened and matured.”

Hughton has played down the amount of business Albion, currently 12th in the Premier League table, will do in January amid persistent speculation linking them with Celtic marksman Moussa Dembele.

“Anything we do will be minimal,” he said. “The striker one has been mentioned more because of the summer, most people are aware we tried in the summer and weren’t able to. But any move for a striker would have to be right for this club to do anything.”