Ravel Morrison move has to wait until the summer

NEWCASTLE United have mothballed their interest in Manchester United wonder kid Ravel Morrison – until the summer at least.

Ravel Morrison

NEWCASTLE United have mothballed their interest in Manchester United wonder kid Ravel Morrison – until the summer at least.

United made an offer for Morrison which was rejected earlier in the month but have not followed up their interest and have informed the player’s camp that they cannot offer him the first-team football he needs to take on his career.

The prospect of making more starts was one of the main reasons the 19-year-old was interested in moving to the North East, but the signing of Papiss Demba Cissé and the re-emergence of Hatem Ben Arfa has changed the landscape at St James’ Park.

Newcastle are also unwilling to match Manchester United’s valuation of the player, who they believe is worth £4million despite his lack of first-team experience.

Boss Alan Pardew is understood to have voiced reservations about where the player would fit into a group that has benefited from tremendous unity in the year since he took charge. A trip to Tenerife, which ended yesterday, strengthened those bonds.

With that deal off the cards, United are looking at other attacking possibilities with Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha and Burnley’s Jay Rodriguez both understood to be on Newcastle’s list of targets. A senior United source told The Journal nothing was imminent on either.

United were interested in Morrison because he offered a potentially sizeable sell-on valuable if he progressed as football insiders believe he can. He is a troubled individual though, and Manchester United have become tired of the hassle that comes with the player some believe is among the most naturally gifted ever to come through their academy.

Newcastle may look to reignite their interest in the summer, when further significant changes in personnel are expected to take place. Big earner Alan Smith’s contract is up – and Peter Lovenkrands is expected to depart too.

United are intent of wringing out value from possible deals in the January window and while it has angered some – Watford boss Sean Dyche was particularly scathing about their approach for defender Adrian Mariappa – they will not shift from their stance. Newcastle value Mariappa around £3million but the Hornets appear to want double the £2million bid lodged for the defender over the weekend.

The transfer has reached an impasse and United were assessing their options. Newcastle sources have indicated that they will not recruit defensive cover at all in this window unless they can find ‘value’ – and they will not bring someone in for the sake of it.

They have already turned down the offer of Birmingham City defender Curtis Davies and a French-based defender with more than 100 Ligue 1 appearances was put to the club last week, only to be rejected because he was the wrong side of Newcastle’s stated policy of only signing stars who are under 26.

Meanwhile, United look set to cash in on goalkeeper Fraser Forster, who is close to sealing a permanent £2million switch to Celtic. Boss Neil Lennon said: “We hope to get a deal sorted soon.”

Former trialist Jason Prior is on the verge of moving to League Two outfit AFC Wimbledon. Newcastle ended his trial early to allow him to sign for a professional club where he will get guaranteed games.

United have scheduled their FA Youth Cup tie with Crystal Palace for February 9 at St James’ Park.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer