SHEFFIELD United will shortly open talks with Motherwell aimed at bringing Jamie Murphy, the Scotland under-21 international, to Bramall Lane, The Star can confirm.
Murphy, who has made 24 appearances for Stuart McCall’s side this term, is expected to leave Fir Park when his contract expires at the end of the SPL campaign.
But United are set to exploit the uncertainty surrounding his future by trying to lure him south of the border next month after sources in Scotland reported representatives of the South Yorkshire club watched Murphy score twice during Saturday’s victory at Hibernian.
Danny Wilson, the United manager, has identified a forward as his top priority in the forthcoming transfer window after acknowledging during last weekend’s annual general meeting that League One’s third placed squad would benefit from an injection of “pace and width.”
Murphy, aged 23, fits the profile drawn up by United’s revamped scouting department and, crucially, will be allowed to leave Motherwell for a cut price fee despite amassing 13 representative caps for his country.
Championship club Blackpool agreed a price for Murphy earlier this year but the player rejected the opportunity of a move to Bloomfield Road.
However, McCall is understood to be resigned to losing Murphy as part of a drive designed to keep Motherwell’s finances on an even keel.
United attempted to re-sign Paul Gallagher on loan ahead of the recent emergency loan deadline before considering alternative options when talks with Leicester City hit a stumbling block.
Murphy, though, is believed to have featured on Wilson’s radar since at least the start of the season.
Meanwhile, United remained a point behind leaders Tranmere Rovers when they drew 0-0 with Ronnie Moore’s side on Saturday.
The match marked the return of Tony McMahon and Dave Kitson from hamstring injuries.
United return to action when they visit Crawley Town this weekend.