Jonathan Greening’s declaration at the end of last season that he wanted to finish his career with West Bromwich Albion is being put to the test after the club revealed they had offered the club captain a new four-year contract amid interest from other clubs.
Greening’s future at Albion has become unclear in recent weeks as Fulham have made a move to tempt him away from The Hawthorns, and Bolton Wanderers are also said to be interested.
Albion have said they would not welcome any approaches and called Fulham’s recent £2 million bid for a player they see as integral to their chances of gaining promotion back to the Premier League as ‘derisory’.
“Contrary to reports, this is the only offer we’ve received from Fulham,” said chairman Jeremy Peace.
“Jonathan is our captain and a vital member of the squad. Therefore, we didn’t give Fulham’s offer a second thought. It is derisory for a player of Jonathan’s talent and experience.
“We made it abundantly clear at the end of last season that should any players leave it will be on our terms.
“We want to keep all of our best players as we strive to gain promotion back to the Premier League.
“We are under no financial pressure to sell anyone.”
The 30-year-old midfielder still has a year left on his Hawthorns deal, plus a further year’s option in the club’s favour, and Albion have offered him a new four-year contract.
At the end of last season, when relegation was beginning to seem a formality rather than a possibility, Greening gave no indication that he wanted to end his five-year stint with the club, but he made it clear one of his reasons for wishing to stay was because of then manager Tony Mowbray, who left to take over at Celtic in June.
“I would love to finish my career here,” he said. “If they offered me a five-year contract I would sign it immediately, but I don’t think the chairman will do that.
“I have been here five years and have really enjoyed it. Obviously, I have enjoyed working with every manager but I have particularly enjoyed working with the present one. I like the way he plays the game and hopefully I can be here until I am 35 if possible and if wanted.”
The departure of close friend and vice-captain Paul Robinson to Bolton may have also left some seeds of doubt in the mind of Greening, who still harbours ambitions of finishing his career in the top flight.
Greening has been a big hit at The Hawthorns since his arrival from Middlesbrough in 2004 and he played a key part in the Great Escape season under Bryan Robson.
He has made more than 200 appearances for the club and has scored seven goals. He also captained the side that won the Championship title in 2008 and led Albion out at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final against Portsmouth.
One player who has pledged his loyalty to Albion is goalkeeper Scott Carson, despite the possibility of relegation hampering his England chances with the World Cup looming next year.
“I signed a four-year contract, so I am going to see that out,” he said. “Hopefully we’re going to have a good season and get the club back up into the Premier League where it belongs.
“As much as the Premier League is unbelievable, when things are going against you on a Saturday it’s very difficult for the rest of the week. When you’re going home on a Saturday night thinking about getting beaten again it’s hard.
“But this year hopefully we can go home having won games and get that good feeling back. It makes your whole week a lot better.”