SHEFFIELD UNITED: Blades pressing ahead with bid

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SHEFFIELD United have made progress in their bid to sign Motherwell’s Jamie Murphy during next month’s transfer window.

But The Star understands that, despite positive talks with their counterparts at Fir Park over the Christmas period, United officials concede several hurdles must still be overcome before the former Scotland under-21 international can join Danny Wilson’s side.

And that has prompted coaching staff at Bramall Lane to draw-up a list of alternatives, including Scunthorpe’s Mark Duffy, should Motherwell refuse to compromise over Murphy’s valuation.

Sources north of the border last night confirmed the SPL club told United it would cost £200,000 to capture the 23-year-old when news of their interest broke earlier this month.

But, with Murphy’s contract set to expire at the end of the season, Wilson believes half that amount represents a more realistic fee for a player who could leave for nothing next summer.

United, who held further negotiations with Motherwell before beating Scunthorpe in midweek, have placed a winger at the top of their shopping list when League One re-opens for business in four days time. As The Star revealed on Wednesday, Wilson considered lodging an approach for Duffy during the emergency loan window.

However, despite electing not to pursue the matter at that stage, the fact United were prepared to eventually make the move permanent suggests Wilson has not ruled out the possibility of resurrecting his interest.