SHEFFIELD UNITED: Jamie Murphy’s the man as Blades make firm bid

Motherwell player: But Jamie Murphy is out of contract soon

Motherwell player: But Jamie Murphy is out of contract soon

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SHEFFIELD United have made a concrete offer for at least one player, believed to be Motherwell’s Jamie Murphy, ahead of next month’s transfer window.

The Star understands that officials from Bramall Lane lodged an undisclosed bid before last weekend’s draw with Tranmere Rovers after monitoring the Scotland under-21 international for the past four months.

In a further development, Glasgow Rangers yesterday distanced themselves from claims they are interested in acquiring Murphy amid reports he will leave Fir Park at the end of the present SPL campaign.

However, with the forward’s contract scheduled to expire in June, it seems unlikely that United or other potential suitors would be prepared to meet Motherwell’s £200,000 valuation.

With Football League members voting to implement the Salary Cost Management Protocol, which limits the amount of money teams can spend on players, United have identified the Scottish market as a potentially rich source of talent. The demands of SCMP - which pegs expenditure to a portion of total turnover - has prompted independent observers to claim £100,000 would be a more accurate reflection of the 23-year-old’s true worth.

Murphy appeared destined to join Championship outfit Blackpool earlier this year but opted to reject a move to Bloomfield Road following talks with his family and agent.

Should Motherwell refuse to adjust their asking price, United have compiled a list of alternative targets as manager Danny Wilson seeks to address concerns about his squad’s lack of pace and width.

The former Northern Ireland international, despite refusing to comment on recruitment policy, is believed to have received the green light to make a permanent signing although the possibility he could broker a loan deal cannot entirely be ruledout.

Wilson’s board of directors submitted their latest SCMP figures to FL headquarters 24 hours before they were held 0-0 by Ronnie Moore’s side. The governing body, who retain the power to prevent teams from processing new registrations in the event of a breach, have requested all 48 clubs in the bottom two divisions provide the necessary paperwork before their respective competitions re-open for business in less than a fortnight’s time.

United are believed to be operating just below the 60 per cent mark above which FL chiefs adopt a ‘micro-management’ approach to a team’s finances.

Murphy has scored eight goals in 24 appearances for Motherwell this term.