JOHN Berylson insists Millwall will not increase their offer for Chris Wood – but says boss Kenny Jackett will be able to splash the cash on another striker if it is rejected.
The Lions chairman has revealed that he has twice agreed to West Brom’s demands for the loanee – only for the Baggies to raise their asking price.
And while he is hoping it will be a case of third time lucky, Berylson admits the club’s £1million-plus bid is now final and that enquiries have already been made for other targets.
He told NewsAtDen: “They told us £500,000 and I said ‘fine’. They said £1m and I said ‘fine’. So I’ve gone for it already – I’m done.
“That’s it. For us, it’s a take-it-or-leave-it offer. We’re not going to increase it but I’m sure West Brom are thinking about an auction.
“If we take our bid off the table, which is worth well over £1m – that’s not including a sell-on clause either – and West Brom end up selling him for half that in the future, they will look stupid.
“I think that’s their biggest danger really – looking stupid. I know Huddersfield are in there but Chris has a flat in London.”
Millwall have been waiting patiently for a response to their offer which, if accepted, stands to smash the club’s transfer record of £800,000 for Paul Goddard in 1989.
But Berylson says there is a limit to how long they can delay other deals – to the extent that Jackett has made an “informal bid” for another player.
“We’ve made a very significant offer for Chris – more than people think,” he said. “West Brom were going to respond last Monday, then it was this Monday.
“The issue with Chris is that, until they respond to us, Kenny has to be making other phone calls. We want Chris badly but Kenny is waiting around while all that cash is on the table.
“Ultimately, it has to come off the table if we don’t get an answer. And there are irons in the fire. I’m not going to identify anyone, but we’ve enquired and know what the numbers would be for others.
“We’ve made an informal bid on somebody – he’s not worth £1million, but it’s significant. We’re thinking about it but we don’t know whether he would fit in as well as Chris has.
“We’re looking at numerous loan alternatives as well. If we’re willing to put this money on the table for Wood, we’re willing to pay a substantial loan fee as well.”
While the Lions’ pursuit of Wood looks set to stretch far into January, the club were able to complete the permanent signing of Mark Beevers, another loanee, earlier this month.
Sheffield Wednesday, the centre-back’s parent club, will be due an initial fee of around £250,000, but NewsAtDen understands the total value of the deal could double based on appearances.
And Berylson said: “What we could potentially pay is a pretty significant price. We didn’t really negotiate – we just said to them, ‘give us a number’.
“Ultimately, if certain clauses are reached it will be a significant price. But he’s young and he’s going to get even better.”
With the Beevers deal already in place, Berylson is now hoping to secure the short-term future of another defender – Tottenham right-back Adam Smith.
Millwall want to extend Smith’s loan when the transfer window opens and Berylson is hoping that Jackett’s track record of improving Spurs youngsters will pay dividends again.
“He’s not for sale in January and I don’t think he would want to be sold to a Championship team anyway,” Berylson said.
“It’s possible we could keep him. Kenny has a good relationship with Tottenham and he always has. If he’s not sold in January, why not leave him here and let him play?
“When Spurs lent him to us, they had no idea he was this good. They’ve had enormous success with us when it comes to loans – one after another after another.”
Keep checking newsatden.co.uk this week to read more from Berylson – including his thoughts on speculation that James Henry and Liam Trotter could be sold in January.