The Hornets have rejected a couple of bids from newly-promoted Brighton and Hove Albion for winger Will Buckley, the Watford Observer understands.

Neither club were willing to comment on the issue but we understand at least two bids, which were comfortably in excess of £500,000, were made and rejected in the last week.

Buckley joined the Hornets from Rochdale in January 2010 in a deal which was agreed by John Stephenson, who was Watford’s head of football business and development before joining the League One champions this year.

It is unknown exactly how much Rochdale received for Buckley as the fee was undisclosed but reports at the time claiming it was a £300,000 move were strongly denied by both clubs. The Hornets stated “that kind of figure will only be reached should both Will himself and the club be successful in the future in terms of appearances made and the club being promoted”.

Buckley has two years remaining on his contract and it is unclear how much it would take for Watford to part with the pacey winger after an indifferent season.

The 22-year-old made 37 appearances during the 2010/11 campaign and was exceptional during Watford’s seven-match winning run over the Christmas period, which played a big part in him being named the club’s Young Player of the Year.

However, his form dropped off in the second half of the season following injury and he only started two of Watford’s last six games.

In the past Watford have made no secret of the fact they need to sell players to balance the books moving forward.

But new owner Laurence Bassini has yet to indicate to what extent the club will need to sell or release players.

The Hornets have removed big spenders from their wage bill in the last three summers and it is currently unclear whether the departures of Nathan Ellington and Mat Sadler are going to be enough.

When asked last week, Watford manager Malky Mackay confirmed he had yet to discuss budgets and transfer funds with Bassini.

“I haven’t been told if I will have any money to spend or not yet,” Mackay said.

“The chats I have had with him have been informal but certainly in the next couple of weeks I will be talking to the board to get a clearer indication of where we are for next year.”

Mackay refused to comment on whether the club would struggle to hold on to the likes of Danny Graham should offers come in.

However, he did say: “There is always speculation that follows players that do well, I am not naive enough to not expect that.

“But what happens from there will be dictated by the bids coming in for players. When they do come in, the bid is considered by the board and they will make the relevant decision about that.

“It can only really be done as and when something happens and at the moment that hasn’t happened.”

Ellington and Sadler are two of the highest earners so their departures this summer are sure to reduce the wage bill once again.

Mackay has often made reference to Watford having the second lowest budget in the Championship, behind relegated Scunthorpe United, and the Hornets boss warned the club’s board would be “gambling” if the wage bill was cut by even more.

“There is probably only one more place we can go to in terms of budgets and that is 24 of 24, and at that point then they are gambling,” Mackay said last week.

“We were gambling this year in terms of we knew it would be a challenge this season and it would be even more of a challenge if there was another reduction in the budget.”