Lazio have opened talks over a bid to sign Ravel Morrison from West Ham.

Lazio are being linked with a surprise move for former Manchester United youth Ravel Morrison, and are suggested to have already reached an agreement. The midfielder has been reported as in dispute with current team West Ham United over his contract and is not expected to renew past its expiry in June. SportMediaset are leading reports in Italy today that Lazio subsequently find themselves in negotiations with the 21-year-old. Reported as having had an interest in the player since his days at Manchester United, Lazio are suggested by SportMediaset as having already reached agreement on a contract from July.

West Ham are now ready to let the 21-year-old Morrison leave for a nominal fee, even though there is an £18 million buyout in his contract, after deciding that he has no future at the club. Sam Allardyce, the West Ham manager, signed Morrison from Manchester United for an initial £650,000, rising by £25,000 per appearance. Given he has made 21 appearances, the total outlay has been £1.175 million in fees. West Ham now just want Morrison to leave this month – and there is also interest from Scotland and the Championship – although it is understood that a dispute over wages could delay any deal. Both the player and West ham are trying to resolve a dispute which has led to £60,000 being taken out of his salary. Morrison says he is owed the cash while the club say it is due to them to pay club fines he has picked up. The PFA are attempting to defuse the row. Lazio are one of five clubs trying to sign the midfielder, two others are in the Premier league while another two are in Europe.

Morrison was infamously described by Sir Alex Ferguson while a youngster as a special player who would either play for England or end up in prison. In his short career he has so far played for England through the age groups up to U21 level, Manchester United, West Ham and on loan at Birmingham City, Queens Park Rangers and Cardiff City. It would not be the first time Lazio had taken on a wayward but richly talented English midfielder – Paul Gascoigne played for and was an extremely popular figure for fans of the Rome club from 1992-95.

Meanwhile Sam Allardyce claims he is in despair at “watching Morrison waste his talent.” Morrison scored for the under-21s on Friday, but has no future at Upton Park. Allardyce said: “It’s very difficult to sit and watch. There’s only a certain amount of times you can tell somebody what’s the best way forward for them.”