Atlas boss Jose Guadalupe Cruz still eager to sign Ravel Morrison
GUADALAJARA, Mexico -- Liga MX club Atlas is still hoping to sign Lazio's English midfielder Ravel Morrison and manager Jose Guadalupe Cruz believes the Manchester United youth product can rebuild his career in Mexico.
Cruz stated on Wednesday night that Morrison had returned to England and needed to tie up some loose ends in Italy, but that the Guadalajara club is "hoping that it can be completed" before the transfer deadline ends.
The manager -- speaking after Atlas' 2-0 Copa MX loss in Estadio Jalisco to Club America -- described 24-year-old Morrison as a "very talented player" that immediately caught his eye when a possible transfer was mentioned.
Cruz added that Morrison's well-publicized past misdemeanors "happened years ago" and not "yesterday or the day before" and that the former West Ham player can succeed in Liga MX.
"I believe it is a risky bet, but in life you have to take certain risks," said 49-year-old Cruz. "I think you have to value the person and give them the benefit of the doubt."
Atlas are currently in relegation trouble in Liga MX and are without a win in six games in all competitions, following an Apertura season plagued by injuries and captain Rafa Marquez being sidelined due to allegations from the U.S. government linking him to a drug trafficking organization.
Cruz hopes Morrison can rejuvenate his career in Mexico and have a positive influence on the team after the international break.
"Off the field I think it is possible, with certain steps, to rebuild and you have to recognize something: When we were young we all behaved inappropriately and that doesn't mean you'll be the same all of your life," stated Cruz. "In that sense we are convinced that the boy can help us a lot and we are very clear that he's going to be on optimal behavior."
If the move does get completed, it is expected to initially be a loan deal from the Serie A club.
Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.