Newcastle make offer for Manchester United teen Ravel Morrison
Newcastle United are ready to return with an improved offer for Manchester United's talented but troubled 18-year-old midfielder Ravel Morrison, who is out of contract at the end of the season.
Manchester United have already turned down a £500,000 bid from their Premier League rivals, but that has not deterred Newcastle officials and they are prepared to increase their offer.
Morrison has been mentioned in the same bracket for natural talent as Ryan Giggs during his time as a youngster at Old Trafford. However, the player has not been offered a new deal and that has alerted clubs throughout Europe.
He could move to a team on the Continent for as little as £300,000 if he runs down his contract, and if he stays in this country the lottery of a tribunal does not appeal to Manchester United.
As a result they are prepared to listen to offers and Newcastle hope they have stolen a march on their rivals with the first formal offer. That was made last week for the central midfielder, but the fee is not large enough and there are complications surrounding any agreed future sell-on clause.
Manchester United have only reluctantly prepared for the departure of Morrison because of his disciplinary problems,and they want to cover themselves in case the player goes on to fulfil his vast potential.
United remain largely reluctant sellers but Morrison looks to have run out of chances. On one occasion he is said to have been annoyed at being a substitute for the reserve side and tweeted his displeasure when he was sent to the dressing room by the reserves manager, Warren Joyce.
Similarly there have been more serious issues for the player. He pleaded guilty to two counts of witness intimidation last year and was sentenced to a 12-month referral order and he admitted criminal damage last May after throwing a mobile phone out of a window.
The Newcastle manager, Alan Pardew, however believes he can tap Morrison's undoubted potential and knows the high regard he is held in as a player.
As a club, Newcastle have shown in the past they will gamble on temperamental players, as long as the price is reflected in any deal, and they have had varying degrees of success. Hatem Ben Arfa's wonderful goal against Blackburn on Saturday was a sign of his ability, but the likes of Nile Ranger have proved problematic because of their off-field behaviour.
However, they feel Morrison has the talent to take a chance and will make a repeated attempt to sign him as they look to unearth what they believe could be a bargain.