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Time for Morrison to come home?

Morrison-kiss-badgeYou always want your academy players to come through the ranks and make a success of their career in the first team. The one youngster who had people talking more than any other was Ravel Morrison. Not just because of the controversy that surrounded his personal life, but because of his supreme ability.

Nearly ten years ago, when Morrison must have only been a child in our academy, I read an article about United’s youth set up and the revolutionary coaching strategies put in place by Rene Meulensteen, who was then in charge of our youth. They referred to him, not by name, but said that coaches at the club had the same expectations of success for Morrison as they had for our stars in the Class of ’92. That he was a shining light at youth level, head and shoulders above anyone else they had seen for years.

It was because of his talent that United stuck by him for so long, when any other youngsters would have been shipped out a long time before. But it reached a point where enough was enough, his behaviour off the pitch as well as his behaviour at the club, not showing up for training and the like, pushed them over the edge.

It was leaked to the papers that Morrison was looking for another club and that he refused to sign the contract United had offered him, but the truth of the matter was there was no contract on the table. United had to cut their losses.

The club sold him to West Ham, with Sir Alex Ferguson not doubting the lad’s talent, but telling Sam Allardyce that Morrison needed to get away from Manchester. He was loaned out to Birmingham and has now returned to West Ham, where he is enjoying some great form for a not so great team.

A couple of weeks ago, Morrison returned to Old Trafford with his new team but failed to make much of an impression, other than with his studs on Tom Cleverley’s ankle. The fans weren’t too impressed to see him, with a dull boo heard around the ground when his name was read out at the beginning of the game, but the majority were entirely apathetic.

“I don’t know if there is a buy-back clause and what that figure might be if it even exists,” Allardyce said in October. “But my real big worry is that Manchester United will come back to buy him.”

There is a clause, which you imagine Allardyce was pretending to be in the dark about, which means United could bring him back to Old Trafford for £18m. However, this isn’t the only clause in his contract. If United bid £10m for Morrison, West Ham either have to sell him to us, or they have to pay him £60k-a-week. That figure would quadruple what he is currently earning. When you consider that captain Kevin Nolan is on £55k-a-week, it simply is not an option to pay Ravel that sort of salary.

There is 18 months remaining on Morrison’s current deal and West Ham are keen to agree a new contract with him and remove the clause regarding his salary.

We don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes though and so it’s fairly useless to speculate. The problems with his career that came with the influences in Manchester may still be there. Or he may have realised what he almost threw away and be so relieved to get a second chance. He still knocks about with all the same crowd he did before leaving, coming back regularly to see them, but this seemingly hasn’t had a negative impact on his career at West Ham. You have to remember he was just 18-years-old when he left the club. Are we prepared to write someone off forever because of the decisions they made when they were a teenager?

Essentially though, whether we want Morrison or not, it’s reassuring that the club didn’t let someone with his potential go without having a safety net. We’re in the position of power here and if we decide we do want him back, we can do it fairly easily, and if we don’t, then it’s West Ham’s issue to deal with.

With the window about to open, time will tell…

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. yugo44 says:

    Why the obessession over average English talent?’Ll Morrison be an improvement over what we currently have?NO.

  2. Natalie Tyson says:

    @ Scott, not sure there is any value to this story, the kid had his chance and blew it, he wouldn’t be top of my list of priorities of even ex Utd players we should be looking to bring back, looking at our defense at the moment, i would of thought that Ryan Shawcross would be more likely.
    In any case David Moyes by now must know the makeup of the squad and will have his own ideas. Hopefully that will include players of proven ability and quality to match those of other top teams in Europe.

  3. united till i die says:

    Not a priority right this minute but worth keeping a eye on him the rest of the season. Even if he did agree a new contract I’m sure it wouldn’t override our current buy out option unless there is expiry date on it. If he proves his attitude has changed and Moyes thinks he can get the best out if him then he can’t be afraid to do the deal at 10m.

  4. samuel - united WE stand says:

    I would get morrison back. Yes he made errors and the influences around him were strong but he was also immature. Do people honestly think because he moved that those same bad influences wouldn’t have followed him? Lee clark even complained at birmingham that morrison lacked a professional attitude etc. He soon improved and focused on what was really needed and now the positives are starting to show.

    Ravel epitomises everything manchester united should be aspiring to build. His flair, imagination and technique would fit into the united set up seamlessly. He understands the system. And as barca have done with their younger players who left, why not bring him back?. I would pay 18mill to get him back.. Morrison fits into united more than a shinji kagawa for example. He has massive potential and if united are going to play flexible football, morrison will fit in with the likes of danny welbeck, januzaj, powell, lingard etc.. A team of mobile imaginative footballers.

  5. samuel - united WE stand says:

    And no such thing as “he had his chance and blew it”… He has an impulsive personality, I get the impression he did most of those things to impress so called “mates” but as soon as he left the bubble of manchester united and scraped at westham, he soon realise professionalism and the right attitude is important to go with talent. Morrison looks out of place at westham and I think he would match januzaj for quality if he returns to united. It’s a gamble but moyes needs to show more of that than the conservative approach of acquiring fellaini.. Morrison fits united, not all players do. I would wait till the end of the season, see how he is progressing and spend to get him back.

  6. RedIndianDevil says:

    I think he needs little more time away from Manchester. Don’t think anyone doubt his talent but at 20 there is a possibility of him screwing it up again. Would love to see him here though. He is a great talent.

    Buying and then loaning him out won’t be a bad option IMO

  7. Natalie Tyson says:

    @ Samuel, I think that was exactly what Sir Alex thought when he let him go! or else why would he? The lad exasperated Sir Alex and his patience ran out and you cannot compare the lad with the likes of others that had come through the academy system to the first team since 92 to the present, they all had true professionalism combined with hard work and the desire to succeed which i hasten to add are also true values that fit the United way, Morrison may be a wasted talent but so be it, it would be morally wrong to bring him back and send the wrong message to any aspiring footballer not just those currently at United.
    Also he’s had a handful of decent games for West Ham and scored a few goals this season but nothing to warrant a fee of 18 million given his history, i doubt their will be many knocking at Sam’s door any time soon!

  8. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Natalie – well fergie is not in charge anymore. Morrison made errors, some self made and some due to his background. I don’t think he should be permanently castigated for that. As we’ve seen at westham, his potential is starting to shine, he is far from a wasted talent. Sometimes with players like morrison, you have to take the rough with the smooth and as fairytale as people would like to make football and all these “moral” tag being waved around. Football does not work purely on that, those that work with moral in a world filled with man.made darkness languish. United aspire to be the best and although finding players with moral is great, talent outweighs that. Morrison has that and has improved his attitude and professionalism. He scored a few goals in his first proper season along with some great performances. It’s called potential and with his potential, I would pay the 18mill. United are adept at wasting money on players anyway (fellaini, ashley young, buttner) so why not take a risk on a genuine who actually fits into the way united play and a player with immense potential?

    As i’ve said, I would back till the end of the season to see him with-hold his good attitude and progress. If so, get him back and build a flexible imaginative united, not the ponderous straight in a line crap we’ve seen at times by some players

  9. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Are people that gullible to assume morrison away from manchester would have improved him? He improved himself purely through maturity, he realised what he wanted and is now really focused. Morrison in manchester or timbuktu makes no difference to him progressing or not, morrison had to change himself regardless where he was around the country. It is a risk no doubt but one worth taking in my view. Morrison will return a much rounded, focused and professional individual with a better attitude and he would come with more experience. I think a player of his calibre is what barca have done for years, taking their players back after they’ve made progress.. Morrison potential is worth taking another chance on and alongside the players breaking through at united, the club would have a real strong talented core of manchester players. Ravel is worth the risk. United have too many flimsy characters at this moment. Morrison comes with unpredictable and uncoventional style. United have far too.many bricklayers, the club needs and artists. We’ve unearthed januzaj, welbeck is another.. Powell, lingard, andreas perriera are too.. Get morrison in, quality is never enough. Look at bayern munich.

  10. keanoisdaman says:

    Yugo….whats wrong with wanting English talent? Its what utd are renowned for…bringing through young English and british talent…and long may it continue.

  11. united till i die says:

    You have to assume the lad himself is open to the idea of returning to old trafford or he wouldn’t have agreed to the clause being in the contract. For 10 million it may be worth the gamble to activate the clause but let him Finnish out his last 18 months at West Ham. No point in bringing him back just to let him sit on the bench and get frustrated all over again.

    I read a article earlier about Juve wanting Nani next year and a deal involving pogba may be worked out. How ironic would it be to have those two back playing in our central midfield at some point. I’ve seen very little of either play but it sounds like they would compliment each other styles nicely.

  12. David Kenny says:

    And then there was Pogba. Why oh why was he not kept? He is playing out of his skin in Italy. Yesterday was possibly the worst display in years by a United side but they won. Midfielders needed but where are they?

  13. samuel - united WE stand says:

    United till I die – I think you could say united are open to him returning. 10mill is a bargain for a player of his potential. It’s best to get him in as early now before we start battling city and chelsea for his signature. Pogba returning is a long massive shot though but it seems he is struggling to move on, he sounds like a younger player that’s been manipulated by his agent. Pogba knows damn well.the premier league is the place to be but it would take at least 40mill to get him back, are the glazers even capable of that? I think morrison is the most likeliest between the 2

  14. united till i die says:

    @ Samuel

    I agree completely. 10m for morrison minus what we paid for him and you’re looking at paying a little over 9m cash to get him back. Maybe you can get him even cheaper by including a player in the deal.

  15. gra mar says:

    If the game against West Ham is anything to go by I wouldn’t give 10 bob for him.

    As for Pogba….if he has a good world cup his value will go through the roof if it’s not high enough already.

  16. samuel - united WE stand says:

    we all know.. (well at least i do) that one game does not make or break a player and as i’ve stated, the westham team do not match morrison’s potential

  17. samuel - united WE stand says:

    i’m one to point out british players that do get unwarranted hype and we all have our views but i’m baffled as to how a manchester united fan can claim ravel to be average when clearly, only his attitude stopped him from making the step up to the first team.

  18. lyndhurstred says:

    What evidence have we of maturity in the guy,also Manchester was a big part of the problem, it’s still their

  19. Gazzer says:

    I certainly don’t have any special insights into Morrison’s contract at West Ham, but something doesn’t sound right here. If there is a $10M buyout clause that West Ham could hardly resist, then why would you need another clause at $18M?

  20. Dan Young says:

    morrison gets slated on here alot but if you ask me its always been in his interest to return one day. firstly you have his current manager coming out telling him the best place for him is west ham, basically setting the team up round him (he took nolans place and because of that nolan only just scored his first, maybe 2nd goal of the season this weekend) you also have his manager saying about how he is worried about a return to manchester united. the player has made sure there is an £18 million buy-out clause for anyone, and then there is a TINY £10 million buyout specifically for united (unless west ham pay him £60k a week which for them is an absolute no go) and whats more its set up so we get £25,000 everytime he plays for west ham. its basically all set up for him to have to either return (if we want him) or move on elsewhere. the ball is well and truly cemented in our court

    as for the pogba rumours.. i would love to have him back. its not as perfect as the story of the class of 92 but players like morrison, pogba, januzaj, welbeck, daehli, pereira are capable of repeating their success. i do think though that it would take about £20 million + nani to bring him back and he would have to make a hugeeeee statement to make up for what him and his cunt of an agent did to united. sacking his agent would be enough for me in my opinion

  21. Sparkz says:

    If his head is screwed on he will go to the top. Unbelievable talent and potential. Would love him back one day but it may be too early. Maybe he needs another season of maturity. The last thing Moyes needs atm is to bring him back in January and have him messing around.

  22. Tommy says:


    So he threatend a key witness in a murder case to impress his mates? He beat up his mum to impress his mates? The boy is scum and their just a couple of examples their are many more, Hes the last player I would want back

  23. Mat Hartley says:

    Ravel Morrison would be a great signing in January, we should go for Pogba as well.

  24. Dan Young says:

    tommy .. such a huge over reaction. firstly it wasnt a murder trial. he threw his girlfriends phone at a wall, which she called the police about. he then got done for witness interogation (her being that witness) .. witness interrogation has a very loose meaning. firstly his girlfriend called the police over him throwing a phone at a wall, in my mind that could easily be an over reaction unless he was very close to harming her. BUT you have to consider if she will call the police over him throwing a phone at a wall, she could easily get him done for witness interrogation over him doing something as little as trying to contact her. i dont know what the situation was, nor do you. nobody does apart from the people close to him or the people that had to know. but if you are going to assume it was over a murder trial!! then you also have to assume it could be something petty and pathetic, unless you have a reason to hate him and therefore take any opportunity to put a stain on his reputation.

    as for assaulting his mother, yeah thats fucking disgusting. as for saying its to impress his mates thats further evidence you have something against him and want to over exaggerate on things he has done in the past.

    he has done stuff that is the work of a scumbag, but he seems to be turning his life around and if he keeps his off field problems to a minimum then i couldnt give a shit atall about his past.

    keane was a complete and utter cunt yet we all loved him

  25. Tommy says:

    @Dan Young

    Erm I was replying to @Samuel with the impress his mates comment because thats what he thought he was doing, I live in the same area as Morrison, he walks around with all his drug dealing mates, giving it the big I am, I have had 1st hand experience of what the boys like wanting to be some big gangsta, many of his so called mates are now inside and believe me their is more chance of him being in Strangways than being at United. Keane was a cunt on the pitch at times yes but how can you compare both people?

  26. Tommy says:

    @Dan Young

    I know hes been around people who have killed in the pas hes also been around petty crime

  27. NefariousVirtuoso88 says:

    I can’t see another MIDFIELDER of such talent going for such a moderate fee. The added bonus of being a United fan.

    Ravel Morrison is creative, has pace, gets goals and his driving runs through midfield are brilliant.

    The prodigal son has to return sooner rather than later.

    I’d take buying him and loaning him out to a more suitable club.

  28. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Tommy – if you want to castigate morrison for life then that’s up to but life isn’t about dwelling on the past in my view. As i’ve said, if he continues to show consistent maturity off the pitch and progresses on it.. With his talent, why can’t he return? He is one of united’s youth product, a mercurial talent, united always need artists like ravel and should go back for him.

  29. Adedayo Charles says:

    How are we sure these clauses if they actually exist are only for United? It could’ve as well be for any other club that is interested. And what is the wisdom in buying back a player we sold for only £650,000 @ £10m?


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