Fulham head coach Rene Meulensteen has admitted that the club have had an initial bid for Ravel Morrison rejected by West Ham United.
Speaking following his side's 3-0 FA Cup third-round replay victory over Norwich City, Meulensteen addressed recent rumours surrounding the club's interest in Morrison, admitting that they had made a bid for the England Under-21 international but that it had been rejected by the Hammers.
"We have put a bid in for but that got knocked back and we move on," Meulensteen told BT Sport.
Renè Meulensteen has confirmed in his press conference that #FFC have had a bid rejected by West Ham for Ravel Morrison. More to follow.— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) January 14, 2014
In his subsequent press conference, he expanded on some details—and suggested that a follow-up bid may be lodged, although progress on the transfer may not come until later in the transfer window.
Via the club's official website, Meulensteen said:
We need to review it and move on. I left it with [club chief executive] Alistair Mackintosh. I’ve explained what I think about the situation so we’ll have to see what happens.
I make my desires clear then leave it to those people to deal with it. We will review it because I don’t know exactly the ins and outs of how it’s been rejected.
I make my desires clear and then leave it to the relevant people to deal with it. We all know it’s very difficult in the January transfer window. A lot of clubs are in the same situation. Things always happen in the last week.
It is believed, per the Daily Mail's Laurie Whitwell, that Fulham's initial offer was around £4 million, while West Ham are looking for nearer £10 million as they consider different ways of acquiring the funds to make moves in the transfer market of their own. It remains to be seen whether Fulham will return with a second offer.
Morrison's situation is complicated by his contract status. It has been widely reported in recent months that the former Manchester United academy graduate's contract at Upton Park has a clause that entitles him to a considerable wage rise should any club make a bid of £10 million—money upfront, with no instalment arrangement or add-on clauses—for his services.
Morrison is believed to currently be on a wage of around £15,000 a week; however, if the clause is activated, he would jump to around the £60,000-a-week mark.
The Hammers are likely to be unwilling to pay such a salary, one that would make him one of the highest-paid players in their squad, leading to the situation where many Premier League clubs believe he is available at the right price this month.
Cardiff City have also been credited with an interest in recent weeks, according to the Independent's Charles Reynolds, with Morrison reported to be interested in both moves. Meulensteen seemed to suggest on Tuesday that the 20-year-old was interested in making the switch across London, although the player himself has not responded publicly to the recent speculation surrounding him.
Per Fulham's official website, Meulensteen added: "The player wants to come here and I’ve known him for a long time. He would add youthfulness, energy, unpredictability, attacking strength, loads of things."
Meulensteen will be well aware of Morrison's talents, having been Sir Alex Ferguson's assistant manager as the midfielder progressed through the youth system at Manchester United. Morrison, while rated as one of the very best prospects in academy at Carrington, never established himself at Old Trafford, as the club eventually lost patience with him over his many off-field issues and indiscretions.
He was sold to West Ham for a cut-price fee in 2012 but appears to have matured since then and gradually underlined his earlier reputation as one of the most talented young players in the English game.