Ravel Morrison is poised to join Queens Park Rangers on loan from West Ham United until the end of the season, with Harry Redknapp, the Rangers manager, hopeful that the midfielder can inspire the club to promotion from the Championship.
The deal is not expected to be confirmed until next Friday, which would be 93 days before the Championship play-off final on 24 May. The maximum loan stay for a player at this time of the season is 93 days.
Rangers, who sit third in the Championship, hope to win automatic promotion to the Premier League following their relegation last year but they will ensure that they do not trip up on a technicality and lose Morrison for a potential appearance in the final.
Morrison, 21, has long been touted as one of England's brightest talents, a player with beautiful touch, awareness and acceleration. The former Manchester United trainee has made his Premier League breakthrough this season at Upton Park, after spending last season on loan at Birmingham City.
He has started 12 times in the Premier League and scored three goals, including the eye-catching solo effort at Tottenham Hotspur last October, when he burst from the half-way line, beat two defenders, drew the goalkeeper, Hugo Lloris, and dinked the ball beyond him. He also contributed two goals in West Ham's run to the Capital One Cup semi-finals.
But Morrison has tested the patience of the West Ham manager, Sam Allardyce, with his attitude, which has reflected a theme of his career and reinforced his reputation as a difficult player to manage. His last appearance for West Ham came on 21 January in the Capital One Cup semi-final second leg against Manchester City.
Redknapp appears to be taking a calculated gamble, although he has reasoned that it is only a three-month loan – the Football League allows loans up until the end of March – and he enjoys trying to coax the best out of temperamental players. He needs a creative lift, with the top scorer, Charlie Austin, expected to be out until April with a shoulder injury and the winger Matt Phillips out for the season with a fracture to his leg.
Morrison was the subject of interest last month from Fulham, whose manager, René Meulensteen, had worked with him when they were together at Old Trafford. Meulensteen incensed West Ham by suggesting that Morrison wanted to come to Craven Cottage and the Premier League was asked to arbitrate over a tapping-up row. It has yet to make a judgment.