DOUGIE Freedman has warned it would take a “high price” if any club were to poach Chung-Yong Lee in this transfer window.

Despite repeated rumours about his future with Wanderers over the summer, the South Korea international is part of the squad that has travelled to Watford for the start the new Championship campaign today.

Chung-Yong has 12 months left on his contract and, as such, Freedman admits his midfielder is an open target for bids.

But the manager insists the player is not pushing for a move and hopes that the club can negotiate a new contract with him in the forseeable future and has laughed off speculation he could be used in a swap deal to sign Norwich City striker Anthony Pilkington.

“I believe we’ve got to be up front with the fans and say ‘this is the situation’ – any player who doesn’t want to play for the club is more than welcome to move on,” Freedman said. “But Chungy has never given any impression he’s unhappy and wants to leave – quite the opposite, in fact.

“He is absolutely desperate to do well for this club and that is the reason I’m really keen to keep him.

“I have to be realistic and if he did say he wanted to go and someone offered me the right money, then we would have to look at it. I think that’s the same with every single player.

“But I know Chungy is a player who would command a high price. And if that high price didn’t come, he’s a player I’d love to keep here.”

Freedman was genuinely amused by reports that Chung-Yong could be swapped for Pilkington – formerly of Atherton Collieries.

“Never heard of that one,” he said. “If anyone wants to buy my players, call me up. I don’t know where these stories come from at times.

“Swapping goes back to the Ron Atkinson days – and God love him, because I played for him – but you’d swap players and a couple of bottles of Champagne and everything was fine.

“I’ve never had a phone call from Norwich, nor from Chungy’s agent saying they were speaking to Norwich.

“Again, it’s a case of some 16-year-old guy tweeting that Chungy should be playing for X club, the next minute we are commenting on it. It is very difficult.”