Birmingham City manager Gary Rowett has insisted that the club do not need to sell in demand starlet Demarai Gray this summer, and has warned his admirers – including Arsenal and Liverpool – away from him.
News has emerged this week that some of the Premier League’s top sides are circling around the 18-year-old in a bid to turn his head after a remarkable breakthrough campaign at Saint Andrews.
Rowett though, says that despite the speculation, the Championship club are in a sound financial situation and are not in a position where they have to sell him to raise funds.
In fact, the Birmingham manager claims the club are in an even better position than when they rebuffed a £5m January approach from Premier League promotion hopefuls Bournemouth.
Quoted in The Birmingham Mail, he said: “Things have not changed since January when we turned down what was reportedly £5m for him – or whatever that was.
“Certainly we are in no worse a position now, in fact I think we are in a stronger position now. I think that’s going to be the case again.
“And I think the other thing people have got to realise is even though he only has a year of his contract left to run he is still going to be under 24 and still subject to compensation.”
Rowett went on to talk about the rumours which floated around the forward in January, saying that while they are likely to come again – they don’t phase him.
“A lot of speculation came in January and it’s going to come now because the summer window is going to open. That’s just par for the course,” he said.
“I am sure it’s going to take a sizeable bid from anyone to prise one of our best young players from the club.”
Despite being in a position where they don’t have to sell, the manager knows that should a Premier League big gun come calling it will be hard to keep hold of Gray.
The youngster was offered an improved deal in the summer, but it remains unsigned, and as a result his future remains unclear.