West Bromwich Albion’s final offer has been put to Zoltan Gera and his agent.
It will not be changed, reviewed, tweaked or bettered in any way, according to chairman Jeremy Peace, who is now awaiting an imminent decision from the Hungary captain
One has not been made sooner because a host of Premier League clubs have registered their interest in the midfielder whose England-based representative, Sam Stapleton, has been relentless in providing his client with maximum exposure. At least six clubs have been linked with Gera since the Baggies secured promotion.
However, Peace’s firm action symbolises an end to the Baggies involvement in any bidding, bettering and gazumping process.
Gera, who becomes a free agent when his contract ends in the summer, has already rejected one improved offer from the club which has been availablt to him for the past 12 months; if he rejects this one, he will be playing football elsewhere.
Peace said: “After lengthy discussions, we made Zoltan what we regarded as a full and very attractive offer last October.
“Zoltan decided not to take up that offer, which has remained on the table all season. We have since reviewed the terms of our offer to reflect the part he played in the club’s promotion to the Premiership.
“We understand from his representative that Zoltan has received substantial offers from other clubs, but we have now tabled the best deal the club can make and we await his decision.”
Among those most frequently rumoured to be vying for his signature, according to Stapleton, are Middlesbrough, Wigan Athletic, Benfica, Bolton Wanderers and, most recently, Portsmouth.
The Portuguese giants are the only club – other than Albion – to have offered the Hungarian a deal.
Despite that, a move to Fratton Park is now considered the favoured option if the player does not renew his contract at The Hawthorns.
Harry Redknapp has been a long-time admirer of the 29-year-old and is understood to preparing a sizeable offer, which will be needed given the size of the competition.
A move to the Reebok Stadium, and a reunion with Gary Megson, the man who brought him to English football from Ferencvaros four years ago, is also not being discounted.
Albion want the protracted matter cleared up.
Tony Mowbray this week re-emphasised his desire for the club to remain within its pay structure and not to be held to ransom by agents hawking their clients around.
Mowbray added: “Zoltan has been offered the best deal this club can offer him. I’m a big believer in the equilibrium of the squad and we won’t be breaking our pay structure for any player – not just Zoltan. We must be fair to the other players.
“For me, the team is the most important thing. But we have made it clear to Zoltan how much we would like him to stay. This is reflected in our contract offer.
“He is very much appreciated by everyone here and we really hope he stays. But if Zoltan decides to further his career elsewhere, good luck to him.”
In other news, the club has dismissed rumours suggesting a move for Spurs teenager Adel Taarabt has been made. That is not to say that the 19-year-old French winger, who would come to the Baggies on loan, is not one of Mowbray’s targets. He was linked with the player last season.