"I spoke to numerous people including Harry Redknapp, who had him at QPR. He's got fantastic ability. I'm prone to a leftfield signing, it doesn't scare or bother me. We have to take little punts now and again, but there is certainly a player in there."
So said Chris Wilder upon Sheffield United's unveiling of Ravel Morrison, in one of the most intriguing transfers of the summer transfer window. Morrison was a fresh faced 20-year-old when he made his Premier League debut for West Ham - 18 months after joining the Hammers from Manchester United, and via a productive loan stint at Birmingham.
Sir Alex Ferguson once considered a 14-year-old Ravel "the best player he had seen at that age" according to Rio Ferdinand, but things didn't work out at Old Trafford. It's been a global tour in the intervening six years...
West Ham, 2012-15
West Ham signed the then-teenager in January 2012 after his contract had expired at Manchester United, and he made his Hammers debut in March 2012 when replacing Jack Collison in the 81st minute of a 1-1 cup draw at Leeds.
But Morrison's finest moment in claret and blue was doubtlessly that goal at White Hart Lane against Tottenham - an unforgettable solo effort in which he took the ball from inside his own half, left two players for dead and then sent a cute dink past a stunned Hugo Lloris.
Before long, though, questions arose about his attitude and a fall-out with boss Sam Allardyce followed (later, the manager would call him "the biggest waste of talent I ever worked with"). It marked the beginning of the end for the Mancunian at Upton Park, where his contract was eventually terminated in February 2015 after just 24 appearances.
Birmingham City (loan), 2012-2013
Morrison was farmed out on loan to gain some first-team experience three times during his spell at West Ham, and first on the list – before he'd made a Premier League appearance – was St. Andrews.
It was a relative success, too: after a rocky start with manager Lee Clark, the midfielder made 27 appearances and scored three goals – including the corking scissor volley below. Not bad for your first goal in the Football League.
Clark would later hail him as "the best footballer since Paul Gascoigne" but add: "It's what is between the ears with him and he knows about this problem."
QPR, 2014 (loan)
West London was his next destination, as Morrison joined QPR on a 93-day loan in February 2014. He again produced some memorable moments for the Hoops, managed by Harry Redknapp – who declared beforehand that this was the player's "last chance" in football.
Morrison's first goal for the club came at his former employers Birmingham in a man-of-the-match performance where he scored twice in a 2-0 win. His opener was another fantastic strike: a curling free-kick from just outside the area which sailed past Darren Randolph (below). He then pulled out a clinical strike for his second, a first-time effort from inside the box which nestled in the bottom corner.
Morrison netted six times for the R’s in only 15 appearances, but didn't appear in the Championship play-off final as QPR edged past Derby.
Cardiff, 2014 (loan)
Morrison was on the move again at the start of the 2014/15 season, this time to the Welsh capital on a three-month loan. But after a terrific debut against Blackpool in October 2014, patience wore thin.
“There’s no doubt that Ravel has got bags of ability,” sighed Bluebirds boss Russell Slade. “He has been at Manchester United and West Ham under great managers and with quality players all around him. But it hasn't quite happened for him. He still hasn't fulfilled the potential he's shown and the ability he's got.”
He left in December 2014, amid West Ham placing him on the transfer list.
A first foray into continental Europe, as he joined Lazio on a free transfer in January 2015. This, however, would prove to be his most miserable move yet.
He didn't feature in Rome for the second half of the campaign, meaning his first (unofficial) start for the Biancocelesti came in a 14-0 pre-season mauling of C.S Auronzo. He won his competitive debut in a Champions League qualifier game against Bayer Leverkusen, getting eight minutes off the bench as Lazio were humbled 3-0.
It didn't get better from there. "He has struggled," said boss Stefano Pioli in September 2015. "He has to work harder for the team. He's had a niggling injury and he still doesn't speak a word of Italian, which has slowed his development and integration in the squad."
By that point he was desperate to leave, but couldn't get a club in the 2016 and was forced to stick it out. Until...
Return to QPR, 2017 (loan)
He finally got his wish – but not until over a year later in January 2017, when he returned to Loftus Road on loan for the remainder of that season.
His second spell in west London wasn't so prolific: he made only five appearances and didn't score as QPR finished a miserable 18th.
Club Atlas, 2017-18 (loan)
Next stop: Guadalajara, Mexico. Obviously. In his most daring move yet, Morrison swapped a Championship dogfight for Liga MX's Clausura (the second half of the split championship.
Despite being a fringe player for Los Zorros, he still made 18 appearances during both championships across the season. A beautifully taken free-kick from 25 yards at Club Universidad Nacional was one of four goals he scored, and the highlight of his time playing in the black and red.
Morrison’s contract with Lazio expired in July 2018, and the Englishman was without a club for the first time in three years since leaving West Ham.
In February 2019, Swedish side Ostersund came to his aid and offered him a chance to train with them on their pre-season training camp in Marbella. It went well, too: the Manchester native penned a six-month contract not long afterwards.
There, he linked up with their English manager Ian Burchnall (replacement for Graham Potter) at the Jamtkraft Arena, but was limited to nine appearances amid injury problems until the expiry of his contract in June.
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