Davie Hay has told Celtic that they have no option but to splash the cash if they want to take Tony Mowbray to Parkhead as their new manager.
West Brom are understood to be demanding £2million in compensation for the 45-year-old before allowing him to hold talks with Hoops chiefs.
Chairman Jeremy Peace confirmed on Monday that an official approach had been made, but warned Celtic they would not be able to prise him away on the cheap.
Hay, manager at Parkhead between 1983-87, now expects the Glasgow giants to dig deep to get their top target.
"If you want him, you’ve got to pay it I’m afraid," he said.
"In the past, transfer fees were associated with players, but, on the managerial front, that price now has to be paid for expertise.
"To me, it looks as though he will be at Celtic Park.
"With European qualifying games coming up, I’m sure Celtic will want to get a manager in place reasonably soon."