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4:59:01 PM
Birmingham close to double deal
Birmingham close to double deal
By Clive Lindsay

James McFadden and David Murphy
McLeish knows the two players well from his time in Scotland
Birmingham are close to securing the signatures of Everton striker James McFadden and Hibernian left-back David Murphy, BBC Sport understands.

Hibs have given Murphy permission to talk to Birmingham after a fee was agreed in principle between the clubs.

But Wigan and Bolton could be poised to launch alternative bids.

Everton are demanding £5.7m for McFadden, but negotiations have brought the two clubs closer to agreement and a deal could be concluded by Saturday.

Birmingham had improved offers for McFadden and Murphy rejected by their clubs earlier this week.

Blues boss Alex McLeish had tabled bids of £3m for Toffees striker McFadden and £1.5m for Hibs left-back Murphy.

It doesn't surprise me other clubs are interested in David because he is a good, good player
Hibernian manager Mixu Paatelainen

But the latest offer for Murphy could be closer to £2m depending on certain clauses.

Scotland team-mate Garry O'Connor said earlier this week that McFadden would be a welcome addition to a Birmingham side that are tied on 20 points with Bolton, Wigan and Sunderland near the bottom of the Premier League table in England.

"James McFadden is an unbelievable talent," he said. "If we could manage to lure him to Birmingham then he would be a fantastic signing.

"He has worked for the gaffer before and to get him here would be great because he's top class.

"If he came here he would score goals, as he has already done in the Premier League, and at national level, and he would be a great success and help the team.

"Hopefully the gaffer will make a few more signings. If we bring players in and keep playing like we did at Arsenal, then I think we will be fine."

Recently-appointed Hibs manager Mixu Paatelainen had expected Murphy to be in his team for this weekend's Edinburgh derby against Hearts.

The player returned to training this week after missing four matches with a hamstring injury.

But he stated: "It doesn't surprise me other clubs are interested in David because he is a good, good player.

"It's not entirely in my hands, but I want to keep the best players at the club, to have as competitive a team as possible."

Meanwhile, McLeish is also keen on signing Aston Villa defender Gary Cahill on loan for the rest of the season, but Villa are believed to prefer a permanent switch.

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1 Priest   [Entry]
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