Ward will have to take a pay cut to join Seagulls

Stephen Ward is on a rumoured £13,000 a week at Wolves
Stephen Ward is on a rumoured £13,000 a week at Wolves

Seagulls success story Stephen Ward will have to accept a pay cut if he is to join the Albion on a permanent deal.

Seagulls success story Stephen Ward will have to accept a pay cut if he is to join the Albion on a permanent deal.

The left-back, who enjoyed an impressive season-long loan at The Amex under former head coach Oscar Garcia, is among a host of players the Albion hope to recruit ahead of the new campaign.

But local press in the West Midlands have revealed the Ireland international is on £13,000 a week at parent club Wolverhampton Wanderers - a sum the Albion will almost certainly not match.

The Express and Star newspaper suggested Brighton stumped up around £10,000 of the player’s weekly wages during his spell on the south coast as Wolves cut their costs during a season in League One.

They have since secured a swift return to the second tier, but manager Kenny Jackett  has decided to stick with the squad who performed so admirably last season and look to shed top-earners like Ward.

A modest six-figure fee will almost certainly not prove to be a stumbling block to any potential deal. The Albion still have funds left from the January sales of Liam Bridcutt, Ashley Barnes and Adam El Abd.

Nevertheless, the Albion are understandably reluctant to break their wage structure, particularly with the threat of Financial Fair Play looming large on the Championship horizon.

Brighton boast the largest average crowds in the division but suffer from a lack of parachute payments given to their recently-relegated rivals. Having announced loses close to £15million in their last set of accounts, the Seagulls will not gamble by paying over the odds.

Ward made 46 appearances in the Championship for the Albion last season, scoring four goals and registering four assists. His form saw him recalled to the Ireland international set-up and the 28-year-old came second in the club’s player of the year awards.

Albion now face the very real prospect of starting the season with none of the club’s top three players from the last campaign. Matthew Upson, the player of the year, has left for Leicester City, Ward looks increasingly unlikely to sign, and third-placed Tomasz Kuszczak was not offered a new deal when his contract expired.