Fulham facing tap-up probe over Morrison

FULHAM could face a fine after the Premier League confirmed last night it was investigating a complaint from West Ham over what they believe equates to the tapping up of Ravel Morrison by their relegation rivals.

Cottagers boss Rene Meulensteen, who worked with the midfielder at Manchester United, said on Tuesday that a bid for Morrison had been “knocked back”, but the player “does want to come here”.

West Ham believe this contravenes Premier League Rule T8 and asked for Meulensteen’s comments to be investigated.

Rule T8 reads: “A statement made publicly by or on behalf of a club expressing interest in acquiring the registration of a contract player, or by a contract player expressing interest in transferring his registration to another club shall in either case be treated as an indirect approach.”

Morrison joined West Ham from United two years ago after Sir Alex Ferguson refused to give into the then-18-year-old’s “unrealistic” wage demands and felt he would be best served continuing his career away from Manchester following a string of off-field misdemeanours.

The England Under-21 international has made his mark with Sam Allardyce’s team this season, netting five goals in 19 games, though he has not featured in their last four league matches.

The Premier League have been asked to investigate similar complaints previously. In 2008 Liverpool made a donation to Tottenham’s official charity and issued an apology following their pursuit of striker Robbie Keane, while in 2002 the Merseyside club were fined £20,000 for illegally approaching then-Middlesbrough defender Christian Ziege.

And, most notably, in 2005 Chelsea, their manager Jose Mourinho and Ashley Cole were all fined after being pictured meeting at a London restaurant ahead of the defender’s transfer from Arsenal earlier in the year. Chelsea were also given a suspended three-point deduction.

The Hammers are still hopeful, meanwhile, of signing Ivory Coast striker Lacina Traore on loan from Monaco this week. And yesterday, the east London club agreed a new 18-month deal with Carlton Cole, after the forward’s short-term contract expired on Monday.

Elsewhere, Fulham winger Bryan Ruiz has joined PSV Eindhoven on loan until the end of the season.