Town could land Irish ace for free
IPSWICH Town could exploit a loophole in the transfer rules to land a £250,000-rated striker for nothing.Waterford United player-of-the-season Daryl Murphy is on a week's trial at Portman Road after impressing with a 22-goal haul in the Irish League and leading his side to the FAI Cup Final.
By Derek Davis
IPSWICH Town could exploit a loophole in the transfer rules to land a £250,000-rated striker for nothing.
Waterford United player-of-the-season Daryl Murphy is on a week's trial at Portman Road after impressing with a 22-goal haul in the Irish League and leading his side to the FAI Cup Final.
He has yet to renew his contract with Waterford, whose season ended a few weeks ago, and the new one does not begin until March.
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The Republic of Ireland Under-21 international has recently turned 22 and, ordinarily in this country, a tribunal would set a fee if the clubs didn't agree a transfer settlement for someone under the age of 23.
But, as Ipswich found when they signed the £3m-valued Pablo Counago from Celta Vigo for nothing, that rule only applies domestically, so they could, in theory, snatch the young Irishman for free.
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That would be a slap in the face for his junior team Southend United (no connection with the Essex club of the same name) and school side Bolton in Waterford, who, under Irish law, would be entitled to part of the fee.
Irish sources claim the player, who spent an unsuccessful time as a homesick teenager at Luton Town, after being spotted by Joe Kinnear, would be good value at £250,000 and United have offered the stand-in skipper a new contract - which has yet to be signed.
Manchester City are also in the hunt, along with SPL side Livingston, while top-rated Irish clubs Shelbourne and Cork City are watching developments.
Murphy, a left-footed striker who is good in the air and not afraid to take on defenders, impressed in training at Ipswich yesterday, but those same rules state he can not play in Town's reserve match at bottom-club Derby County tonight.
Blues boss Joe Royle will decide today if he will allow Matt Richards to play, as he looks ahead to Saturday's game at QPR. Richards, along with Dean Bowditch and Pablo Counago, is named in Steve McCall's initial squad, which will be reduced down this morning, before travelling to Pride Park for the 7pm kick off.
Town reserves squad: Supple, Synott, Richards, Craig, Hogg, Collins, Mitchell, Murray, Garvan, Bowditch, Counago, Clarke, Knights, Flack, Atay, Sobers, Patten.