Scottish international midfielder Darren Fletcher has left Manchester United for fellow English Premier League club West Bromwich Albion on a free transfer. The 31-year-old vice-captain at Old Trafford played in 12 matches for United this season and has now agreed to terms on a 2.5-year deal with West Brom with an option for another year. This is a prime example why fans shouldn’t believe rumoured football signings until they become official most British media outlets reported last week that the former Scotland skipper was signing with West Ham United.
West Brom need all the help they can get under new manager Tony Pulis as the club sits in 15th place in the league table with 22 points and are just three points ahead of the relegation zone. Fletcher spoke with West Brom’s official website and said, “It feels great. This is a fantastic new challenge for me in my career. I’ve spent my career at Manchester United and it’s all I’ve ever known. But I felt it was the right time to move and I’m not sentimental about doing that.”
Fletcher first joined Man United back in 2002 after climbing the ranks in the club’s youth academy. He appeared in 342 contests with the team in all competitions and played on five Premier League title-winning sides. He also won the European Champions league crown with the squad in the 2007/08 season and several domestic cups. Fletcher has battled health issues over the past few of years as in 2011 he was found to have a bowel condition known as ulcerative colitis. This kept him out of action for the majority of the past two seasons.
He was considered to be healthy in December of 2013; however he had a hard time breaking into the first team again. He didn’t play much when David Moyes was brought in to manage United last season and that trend continued this campaign under new boss Louis van Gaal. But with his departure, Van Gaal told the press, “I like Darren Fletcher as a player and as a human being so we shall miss him. But he hasn’t played so many times and that is always the main goal of a player. We have talked about that and he preferred to play.”