Date: 16th January 2008 at 1:54pm
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James McFadden’s transfer fee is like Aston Villa boss Martin O’Neill’s managerial reputation – they both continue to increase thanks to media hype rather than real-world performance.

The Everton striker will apparently move to St Andrews in time for Birmingham’s clash with Chelsea on Saturday, but he won’t come cheap. It has been reported in the press that Birmingham will have to pay £5million, with another £500,000 in add-ons, to sign the 24-year-old Scotland international.

That would be a lot of cash – especially when added to potential £2.5million cost of Hibs left-back David Murphy – though it would go a long way to suggesting boss Alex McLeish is being supported in the transfer market.

Speaking about both players, McLeish told the Birmingham Mail: “McFadden is one of these – it’s a Glasgow word we use -‘gallas,’ a person who is unfazed by challenges put in front of him, who fancies his chances, has the bottle and mentality.

“And the thing about James McFadden is that he definitely has the technique as well. But I’m talking about a player I don’t even have here and I hope we can really pull out the stops to get him. Murphy is more of a dynamic full-back. He will get forward, it’s in his armoury. That’s something I like in full-backs.”

While Birmingham may benefit from signing James McFadden (players do not always settle), Everton certainly will – and their fans do not seem too concerned about the player’s imminent departure from Goodison Park.

One letter in today’s Liverpool Echo begins “I think most Evertonians would not be too disappointed to see James McFadden leave and we will wish him well if he does go” and that seems to sum up the current feeling on Merseyside – though some fans would take less than £5million while others would prefer to wait until the summer.

Whatever the cost, having both Murphy and McFadden available for the weekend’s clash would be a welcome boost – a £7.5million welcome boost…!