Tony Pulis has admitted that West Bromwich Albion are interested in signing soon to be out-of-contract Leeds United defender Charlie Taylor, although he insists they are facing competition for the signature.
Academy graduate left-back Taylor, who saw a transfer request rejected last summer amid admiring glances from the Baggies, Middlesbrough and Burnley, is set to depart Elland Road this summer with his current contract due to expire at the end of June.
His split from Leeds hardly looks likely to be amicable, after manager Garry Monk claimed that he refused to play in the final game of the 2016-17 Championship campaign at Wigan Athletic last weekend.
It has since been reported that Taylor, having attended a disciplinary hearing on Monday (8 May), is set to be fined two weeks' wages for that decision.
Addressing West Brom's ongoing pursuit of the 23-year-old, Pulis revealed that the club would prefer to reach an agreement with Leeds rather than head to a transfer tribunal to settle the departure of a player under 24 who has reached the end of his contract.
"There's a lot of clubs interested in Charlie Taylor, we're not the only one," he said during a press conference held prior to the visit of champions-elect Chelsea on Friday evening.
"He's been on our radar for a bit but it could go to a tribunal between the two clubs. Our club would rather try to sort out a deal with Leeds if we're going to do it than go to a tribunal. There's still a lot of air in that bag before anything's achieved."
West Brom are also said to be plotting a summer move for highly-rated centre-back Ben Gibson following confirmation of goal-shy Middlesbrough's immediate return to the second tier.
The Mirror have reported that Pulis personally watched the £25m-rated England hopeful during 'Boro's recent 3-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge, yet it appears that contact over a potential deal is yet to be made.
"We've not spoken to anybody at Middlesbrough about Ben Gibson and if we had, I still wouldn't tell you," Pulis said. "Seriously though, we've not spoken to anyone there."