Only 'ridiculous money' would see Hull City sell star players, says Steve Bruce
HULL City boss Steve Bruce believes only "ridiculous money" will see any of his star names depart the KC Stadium during the January transfer window.
An encouraging opening third to the season has established the Tigers as a mainstay in the Championship's top six and raised hopes a return to the Premier League can be secured next May.
The biggest threat to City's rise under Bruce could be the January transfer window, with speculation starting this week that star defender James Chester will be a £1.5m target for Aston Villa.
Although the City boss can offer no guarantees his prized assets will remain with the Tigers, Bruce has warned any potential suitors a "fortune" will be needed to break up his squad.
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"I know for a fact that anyone wanting to buy any of our players, it will cost them a fortune," Bruce told the Mail.
"Why would we upset everything that we've worked for?
"I'm not going to kid people and say no one's for sale at any price because every player in the world, even Ronaldo, has a price.
"But I know that no one will be allowed to nick any of our players. The owners and myself will do everything in our powers to make sure of that.
"Why would we, if we're in this position, get to the other side of Christmas and look to sell our best players? We'd be committing suicide."
City's owners Assem and Ehab Allam have maintained a firm stance in the transfer market since assuming control of the Tigers two years ago. As well as fending off Leicester's interest in Cameron Stewart last January, with bids of £1m and £1.5m rejected, City also held on to Robert Koren this summer in the face of persistent approaches.
Chester could be the next star courted in January and Premier League strugglers Villa have been the first club linked.
Bruce said: "I've seen the links with James Chester and it was news to me. You're going to get the speculation and all the nonsense, you can't do anything about that.
"But we're going really, really well, so why would we want to jeopardise that?
"Unless Aston Villa were to offer ridiculous money, then the simple answer is that he's not for sale. I could look Chezzy in the eye and say 'Why would we?'
"If we got to the stage where we had a bid that was mind-blowing then we'd all sit down, but £1.5m? It's going to take a lot more than that."
Bruce's priority will instead be on strengthening in January.
After admitting he would like to add a new permanent goalkeeper in the New Year, it is understood Bruce would also like a fresh attacking option to offset the loss of Matty Fryatt for the rest of the season.
Discussions are yet to be staged to set out a budget and Bruce said: "We'll discuss it on its merits come January. The owners have been terrific and I can't speak highly enough of them. I have to say they're a delight because they let me manage. That's all you can ask for."