West Ham United have reported Fulham to the Premier League over what they believe is the tapping up of Ravel Morrison. The east London club were furious on Tuesday night to hear the Fulham manager, Rene Meulensteen, suggest that the midfielder wanted to come to Craven Cottage.

Meulensteen, who worked with Morrison when the pair were together at Manchester United, has made him his top January transfer target and he feels that the talented if temperamental 20-year-old could be the player to help the club avoid relegation. Fulham have had an offer of £4m plus add-ons rejected by West Ham.

Meulensteen confirmed that the bid for Morrison had been turned down, after Fulham had beaten Norwich City 3-0 at home in the FA Cup third round replay. But he sparked the controversy when he was asked whether Morrison wanted to come to Fulham. "Yes," he replied. Meulensteen was then asked what made him think that. "Because I've known him for a long, long time," he said.

Meulensteen went on to say that Morrison stood to add "youthfulness, energy, unpredictability, attacking strength, loads of things" to the Fulham squad. He was also asked whether he was confident of tying up a deal this month if a fee were to be agreed. "That's what we're hoping for," Meulensteen said.

The Premier League has rules that forbid any approach to a contracted player by a rival club or anyone working on their behalf. Rule T8 also makes it clear that public statements about contracted players are not allowed.