Manchester United's teenage prospect Ravel Morrison, whose turbulent lifestyle has made his club despair, is understood to be demanding £30,000 a week for his new professional contract in the face of a £12,000-a-week offer from the club.
Morrison, 18, is out of contract in the summer and United have already rejected a £500,000 offer from Newcastle United for a player rated as one of the best to come out of the club's academy in some time. Once regarded as a natural successor to Paul Scholes, Morrison's development has stalled this season and he has made just three senior appearances in all.
Unprecedented for a young United player, he has also taken to Twitter to defy Sir Alex Ferguson who said last week that Morrison had been made an offer of a new professional contract but had rejected it, describing the teenager's demands as "unrealistic".
This week Morrison tweeted: "I have never 1s [sic] turned down a contract off united". Yesterday, via Twitter, he tried to assure fans that he would not go to Manchester City: "m.city have never been in my mind and who ever tells you I'm movin [there] ignore them."
Morrison has a worrying background of brushes with the law, including pleading guilty to two counts of witness intimidation which led to a 12-month referral order which expired this month. He has a police caution for assaulting his mother. He has also had disciplinary issues with United.
There have been suggestions that Arsène Wenger would be willing to take a risk on Morrison if United were prepared to let the player leave for nothing in the summer. However, his demands to be paid £30,000 a week are ambitious in the extreme for a player who has so little first-team experience and appears to be high maintenance.
On Wednesday, Rio Ferdinand tweeted that he had spoken to Morrison. "I've told him what I think of him and what he needs to do to fulfil it," Ferdinand wrote, later adding it would be a "big waste if it all goes tits up".