Ravel Morrison has shot into the public eye this season as the best player to come through the Manchester United academy in more than a decade. The attacking midfielder was instrumental in the club winning the FA Youth Cup last season and was widely regarded as the competition’s best player.
He has made just three appearances so far and all have been in the Carling Cup but he has made quite an impression on fans and media alike and with his contract coming to an end this summer he has become the figure of a well publicised transfer battle. The 18-year-old has caused controversy with his hefty wage demands to the team who have brought him to prominence and the stalemate between the parties has alerted rivals to his availability.
Newcastle United have bid up to £1 million for him and Roma, Arsenal, Manchester City and Barcelona have all been linked to the boy from Wythenshawe, but any bids have been rejected by the club because Sir Alex Ferguson is convinced that Morrison will become ‘the one that got away’.
Despite his undoubted talent on the field, off it he has had more than his fair share of problems that are well documented and while difficult players like Keane, Stam and van Nistelrooy have been pushed out the door quickly by Sir Alex so his insistence on trying to keep Morrison shows how highly he is rated by his boss and despite the apparent desire of agents to engineer a move United should fight to sign him up.
With the right attitude, something that Fergie will do his best to mould, Morrison could well prove to be the creative midfielder that United have lacked at times this season. At 18 he could do a job in the centre of the park this campaign and will be able to anchor the midfield for years to come if he stays alongside Tom Cleverley, with Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Ashley Young around them.
He has a no-fear mentality like Ozil and Kaka and the ability to waltz through a defence with ease and that is the sort of player that is a rare gem. As well as his close control he has a fierce long-range shot that he showed with great quality against Sheffield United in the Youth Cup.
And with the home-grown quota that is now in force, his English nationality is another important quality not to be ignored.
Letting him leave in the summer will also see the club lose millions of pounds as well as a future star. If he is to become the player that they believe he will be then he may well become one of the world’s most expensive players, rather than a free agent this year. Replacing his talent would also be a pricey move, with number one target Wesley Sneijder likely to cost £30 million and other top players will command a similar fee, so an extra £10,000 a week won’t be anywhere near as costly as a new player.
Confidence is not something that the 18-year-old lacks and with his amount of ability there is no reason to, but he should think carefully before chasing the big bucks now. Accepting a more modest wage now at United is the best option for him if he wants to make the most of his skills. The club will not want to be held to ransom by somebody so young no matter how talented but rather than standing firm they should fight hard to keep their man at Old Trafford because seeing him depart this summer will cost them financially and in the league for years to come.
Should United fight to keep Ravel Morrison? Tell me on Twitter @jrobbins1991.
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