Demarai Gray won't come cheap, warns Birmingham boss Gary Rowett

Birmingham City FC - St. Andrews

The teenage winger has been linked to the likes of Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur but Rowett stresses that it will take a "sizeable bid" to lure him to the Premier League.

Birmingham City manager Gary Rowett has insisted that the club have no obligation to sell Demarai Gray, telling the Birmingham Mail that negotiations over a new contract will resume in the summer.

Gray, 18, has burst onto the Championship scene in impressive fashion this season, scoring six goals in 38 league games to help the club out of relegation trouble and towards the top half of the table.

His recent performances haven’t gone unnoticed a level above and the emerging winger is now being linked to arch rivals Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur, per Goal.com, with Liverpool and Newcastle United also said to be tracking his progress.

Championship promotion hopefuls Bournemouth also saw a £5 million offer knocked back in the winter transfer window but, with less than 18 months left on his contract, Birmingham are set to face a fight to keep hold of him moving forward.

In addition, with the club going through recent financial trouble, an impressive enough bid could prove too hard to resist but Rowett has stressed that the aim remains keeping one of their prized assets for as long as possible.

“Things have not changed since January when we turned down what was reportedly £5m for him - or whatever that was,” he told the newspaper. “Certainly we are in no worse a position now, in fact I think we are in a stronger position now.

“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.

“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.

“I am sure it’s going to take a sizeable bid from anyone to prise one of our best young players from the club.”

Nevertheless, with Gray failing to sign a contract extension which was offered in December, Rowett has admitted that the club will to make a concerted effort at the end of the season to tie up his long-term future.

“We are probably going to have to be realistic and start those negotiations again when the season finishes,” he added. “A lot of that is going to be dependent on how much of that speculation is real and how much of that speculation is purely make-believe.”

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