BLUES CONFIRM HUGHES INTEREST
By Paul Higham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The Baggies have reluctantly accepted that they will have to sell Hughes, after he failed to sign a new contract with the club and can leave The Hawthorns in 12 months time as a free agent.
A club statement from Albion said that they would 'listen to any substantial offers' for the 25-year-old, and this means that Baggies fans face their worst nightmare of Hughes defecting to one of their Midlands rivals.
Birmingham have already offered £3.5 million for Hughes and co-owner David Sullivan says that the club are still interested, but will not be held to ransom by Gary Megson's side.
"The problem is the same one we have over Chris Bart-Williams," said Sullivan. "The player has a year left on his contract and would want untold money in wages because he can wait and go for nothing in a year.
"His value to the club goes down unless they sell now, and they would want a vast amount too.
"Everyone and everything has got a price and yes we are interested in Lee Hughes, like we are in Bart-Williams and Sean Gregan.
"But you can't afford them all. Any deal has to be right.
The West Brom faithful would be loathed to lose such a cult figure to either Birmingham or Wolves, who are also interested, and although Everton have also reportedly been interested, Sullivan believes that Hughes will not be handed a move to the Premiership.
"I don't think he will end up in the Premier League, they are not queuing up to sign him and, unless he was a Bosman, he won't get the money he wants from elsewhere."
Any Midlands move would come as a massive blow for Baggies fans, who would see the move as one that would rival Sol Campbell's defection from Tottenham to North London rivals Arsenal.