Transfer news: West Ham dig in over 'approach' for Ravel Morrison by Fulham

Premier League set to investigate if player was tapped up by Rene Meulensteen

It was not the first time that Ravel Morrison found himself at the centre of controversy in his young career but in the case of the Fulham tapping-up row, the West Ham midfielder can say at least that this one is not a mess of his own making.

When he was asked about a putative bid to sign the Englishman on Tuesday night after Fulham's 3-0 victory over Norwich City, Rene Meulensteen did not just stop at saying that a bid had been placed. Asked by newspaper reporters whether he thought Morrison would like to move to Fulham, the club's manager replied "Yes".

The kindest thing you can say about that remark is that it is the naivety of a new manager just learning the ropes when it comes to playing a close hand on transfer dealings.

The Premier League is expected to announce an investigation of Meulensteen, who is potentially in contravention of regulation T8 which dictates "a statement made publicly by or on behalf of a club [about signing another club's player]... shall be treated as an indirect approach".

For the Fulham manager to know that Morrison wanted to leave West Ham there would have had to have been some contact, either direct or otherwise – an illegal approach that is forbidden under the Premier League rules T3 that deal with the tapping-up of players.

No one would suggest that Meulensteen is about to face a saga as protracted and serious as the most infamous tapping-up inquiry in recent times, around Ashley Cole and Chelsea. Nor that he is the only manager to do it.

Rather, he has made the mistake of potentially incriminating himself. It did not help that West Ham officials were aggrieved to see the offending remark from Meulensteen on the Fulham website this morning, since taken down.

Sources at West Ham denied suggestions that Morrison has fallen out with manager Sam Allardyce over his representatives. The former Manchester United academy player uses the agent Nick Rubery and is 18 months from the end of his West Ham contract. He was signed by West Ham from United two years ago and while the club say that they would like to keep him, he is straying close to the end of his deal.

It is understood that Fulham bid £4m for the 20-year-old, an offer that was dismissed out of hand by West Ham. While Meulensteen said on Tuesday night that Fulham would bid again for Morrison, the mood at West Ham was that they would not entertain any offer from a fellow relegation candidate, let alone one they claim has made an illegal approach.

As for Fulham, they are unperturbed by the allegations made against them and claim that Meulensteen had simply said he believed the player wanted to come to the club in response to a direct question.

At least Meulensteen would be under no illusions as to the kind of player he would take on with Morrison, having played a part in his development at United.

The quirks of Morrison's behaviour at the United training ground became the stuff of legend at the club before Sir Alex Ferguson and academy director Brian McClair finally ran out of patience with him.

As a United player at Carrington, Morrison was nicknamed by his peers "the eel" for his capacity to slip away unnoticed and often not return for days.

On occasions they were able to track him down playing five-a-side football with his friends on the Power League pitches near the Trafford Centre. The attempts by senior players to talk him round were well-documented. In the end, his unexplained absences at United convinced the club to give up on an undoubted talent.

His breakthrough this season into the West Ham team, and for England Under-21s, have convinced some that he has turned a corner in his career. His goal against Tottenham in the 3-0 win at White Hart Lane in the league this season, as well as other performances, including the home win against Fulham in November, have demonstrated what a rare talent he is. So too, for the Under-21s, although he raised concerns with his on-field clash with Wilfried Zaha.

The general consensus is that, for all the discussion of a reformed character, Morrison will always present a challenge to any manager who takes him on and he is an interesting choice for a club fighting relegation. For now, his performances and his youth are sufficient that there will always be someone willing to give him a chance.

Despite the problems West Ham had with him initially, he has never been in the same kind of trouble he encountered in his last year at United when he pleaded guilty to two charges of intimidating a witness and was given a 12-month referral order.

The Premier League asked Fulham for their observations on the tapping-up claims and will hope for a swift resolution. Where it leaves Morrison's career at West Ham is open to question.

News
The cartoon depicts the UK (far left) walking around a Syrian child refugee
newsIn an exclusive artwork for The Independent, Ali Ferzat attacks Britain's lack of 'humanity'
Life and Style
Man taking selfie in front of car
health
Sport
footballManager attacks Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp after criticism of Diego Costa's apparent stamping
Life and Style
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
British author Helen Macdonald, pictured with Costa book of the year, 'H is for Hawk'
booksPanel hail Helen Macdonald's 'brilliantly written, muscular prose'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Frozen out: despite being filmed in Iceland, 'Fortitude' is set further north, in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard
tvGerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Life and Style
Carmen Khu from The Royal China Club pours a cup of Dai-Hong-Po tea
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore