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Report: Brighton face a battle to keep Stephens, who was linked with Derby in August

Dale Stephens has starred for Brighton & Hove Albion in the Championship, after a proposed move to Derby County failed to materialise.

Brighton & Hove Albion face a battle to hang on to Dale Stephens, according to a report in the Sunday People.

TalkSPORT reported in August that Derby County were preparing a £2.5 million bid for the 26-year-old midfielder, who has little over a year to run on his Seagulls contract.

The Rams later added Jacob Butterfield and Bradley Johnson to their midfield ranks in deals said to be worth over £10 million combined.

But there are bound to be other Stephens suitors, with the former Charlton Athletic player a regular in Brighton's promotion-chasing team this season - contributing six goals and four assists.

According to the People, Stephens has turned down numerous contract offers over the past few months, unhappy with the terms on offer at the Amex Stadium.

And the Bolton-born player may be angling for a return to northern England, as was reported by TalkSPORT last year.

Brighton paid an undisclosed fee to acquire Stephens from Charlton in January 2014, and he was part of the Seagulls' side that lost to Derby in play-off semi-finals four months later.

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