Brighton tell Celtic they will fight tooth and nail to keep hold of sought-after midfielder Dale Stephens

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Brighton chief executive Paul Barber has warned Celtic that the Seagulls will fight tooth and nail to keep hold of talented midfielder Dale Stephens.

The 27-year-old has been linked with a move to Brendan Rodgers’ side, while Burnley are also said to be keen on the playmaker.

Stephens, who is out of contract next summer, is part of a central midfield partnership with former Hoops favourite Beram Kayal in a Brighton side that currently occupy an automatic promotion place in the English Championship.

dalestephensBut fresh from tying down Kayal on a new two-and-a-half year deal, Barber insists the club will do all they can to keep former Charlton and Oldham player Stephens.

Barber, speaking to the official club website, said: “There’s no point in building a squad with significant depth if you then go halfway through a season and allow that to dissipate by letting people go.

“We’re going to do everything possible to keep the group together as we did in the summer, to add to it where we can and need to, and where (manager) Chris Hughton says we need to.

“Hopefully the second half of the season will be as strong as the first and we’re in the best possible position.”

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