Race hotting up as Championship clubs battle for Rotherham United's Semi Ajayi

ROTHERHAM United have rejected at least two bids from Championship clubs as the battle to lure in-demand Semi Ajayi away from the Millers hots up.
Wanted man Semi AjayiWanted man Semi Ajayi
Wanted man Semi Ajayi

Manager Paul Warne confirmed that offers have been submitted but said that none of them so far were big enough to tempt the Millers to sell.

The manager refused to reveal which teams are chasing the centre-half-cum-midfielder, but the Advertiser understands that West Brom and Barnsley have both put money on the table.

“There is interest in him,” said Warne, who hopes to make a goalkeeper his seventh summer signing shortly. “There will be. He can play centre-half and he scored eight goals in the Championship last season from midfield in a struggling side.

“I don’t dispute that there are clubs that want him. He hasn’t knocked on my door and said he wants to go or anything. Until there’s an offer that the chairman wants to consider, he’s our player. I’ll treat him like that until someone tells me different.

“I can’t tell you if West Brom are one of the clubs. We have had offers for Semi from a couple of Championship clubs. We haven’t accepted any of them.”

The Baggies are believed to have entered the bidding this week.

Nigerian international Ajayi, aged 25, joined Rotherham on a free transfer from Cardiff City in 2017 and has a year left on his contract. The League One Millers sold another of their internationals, midfielder Will Vaulks, to Cardiff last month for a fee of around £2.1 million potentially rising to £3.5m in add-ons.

Ajayi was in the Rotherham squad on Wednesday night for the 5-1 win in a pre-season friendly at Bradford Park Avenue and was the only substitute not to be used.

“It just happened to be that Semi was the one I didn't put on,” Warne said. “There was no hidden agenda there.”

The Millers led 5-0 at the break before losing their edge in front of goal in the second half.

“I used more subs than I was intending to because I was trying to gee things up a little bit in the second half,” Warne added. “There’s no drama. Unfortunately, he was just the one who didn’t get on.”