NEWCASTLE UNITED have had an initial bid for Ravel Morrison rejected after Manchester United reluctantly put their hugely talented 18-year-old up for sale.
Morrison's contract expires in the summer and, having lost patience with his repeated truancy from training, the Red Devils are looking to secure a sale during this transfer window.
As Morrison is still only 18, if he moved within England in the summer, his transfer fee would be set by a tribunal -- an unpredictable situation which United are hoping to avoid.
But United are determined not be short-changed and are seeking a substantially higher fee than the £500,000 offered by Newcastle as well as a clause that would give them a significant percentage of any future sale.
In terms of raw talent, Morrison, a creative midfielder, is the most exciting player to emerge in English football in recent years and arguably the most technically gifted to come through at Carrington since Paul Scholes.
Morrison, who has played for England at U-16, U-17 and U-18 level, made his debut for United in October 2010 and had been expected to make his breakthrough this season.
However, despite some impressive performances in the reserves, he has managed only two appearances in the first team.
For all his undoubted talent he is also a troubled character from a difficult background. He pleaded guilty to two counts of witness intimidation last year and was sentenced to a 12-month referral order and ordered to pay costs and compensation of £1,445.
He has also suffered from disciplinary problems at United, where the admiration for his talent is matched by frustration at his failure to consistently apply it by turning up to training.
Arsenal are also understood to be monitoring the situation and, if they decide to pursue their interest, could out-bid Newcastle.
Meanwhile, Patrice Evra is set to return to Liverpool later this month -- for the first time since being racially abused by Luis Suarez -- as Manchester United captain after being handed the armband until the end of the season.
The match will take place at Anfield on Saturday, January 28, with a 12.45 kick-off time. (© Daily Telegraph, London)