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D.C. United finalizes signing of journeyman playmaker Ravel Morrison

Ravel Morrison, shown playing for West Ham in 2013, is joining D.C. United on a contract through 2023 with an option for 2024. (Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)
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New coach Wayne Rooney put his biggest stamp yet on D.C. United’s roster overhaul Monday when the club finalized the signing of playmaker Ravel Morrison, a person with knowledge of the situation said.

Morrison, a 29-year-old midfielder, signed with United through 2023 with an option for 2024, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the move had not been announced.

The Manchester native, who represents the Jamaican national team, most recently played under Rooney for Derby County in English soccer’s second tier. D.C. will be his 13th club in a career that has included stints with English clubs Manchester United, West Ham and Queens Park Rangers; Italian power Lazio; and teams in the Netherlands, Sweden and Mexico.

D.C. used targeted allocation money to complete the signing, putting Morrison in the bracket just below the three designated player slots reserved for the team’s highest-paid players. The Post reported last week that Morrison would be arriving in Washington to finalize a deal, and MLSSoccer.com confirmed Monday that the signing was complete.

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Forward Taxi Fountas remains United’s only designated player. The club is in the market to fill one or both of its remaining spots ahead of the Aug. 4 transfer deadline.

Morrison had four goals and four assists in 36 appearances last season for Derby, which went 14-19-13 and was relegated to the third tier because of penalties related to the club’s financial struggles. On the international level, he appeared in nine matches as Jamaica failed to qualify for the World Cup and scored last month in a 3-1 win over Suriname in the Concacaf Nations League.

He is poised to join Fountas and fellow summer signing Martín Rodríguez in the attacking midfield trio of Rooney’s 4-2-3-1 formation, which interim coach Chad Ashton has implemented in the past two matches.

Although Rooney won’t be allowed to be on the sideline until his work visa is finalized, the English legend — who starred for D.C. in 2018 and 2019 — has notably altered United’s roster since being introduced as the club’s coach last week.

D.C. traded Julian Gressel, a wing back whose position was being phased out under Rooney, to the Vancouver Whitecaps on Friday for up to $900,000 in allocation money. Earlier Monday, United agreed to acquire forward Miguel Berry from the Columbus Crew for $225,000 in general allocation money, plus potential performance-based incentives.

With the MLS season just past its midpoint, United has the league’s worst record at 5-11-3.

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