Darren Fletcher departure highlights Manchester United's changing identity

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The departure of Manchester United’s tireless servant Darren Fletcher seems all but completed with his current contract due to expire in the summer.

After Ryan Giggs retired at the end of the last campaign, Darren Fletcher became the Red Devils most senior player, accumulating over 10 years in the first-team squad.

West Ham are poised to sign the Scotland international on a season-long loan deal with a view to completing a permanent transfer this summer.

No offer

Louis van Gaal will not be offering Fletcher, who scored 18 goals in 226 Premier League games for the Reds, a new contract. He has only made four starts this season and the fight for a central midfield vacancy is harder than ever with the ever-present Michael Carrick alongside a rejuvenated Marouane Fellaini and summer recruits Blind and Herrera.

That's not to mention England captain Wayne Rooney and £60 million Di Maria also occupying those roles, so Fletcher is at the bottom of the pecking order.

With his youth career starting in 1995 the 30-year-old will undoubtedly be missed by the Old Trafford faithful, but what sort of impact can we expect this to have on the team?

First team

Despite only having sporadic runs in the first team when he first began, come 2009 he had cemented a place in the first team over players such as Carrick and Owen Hargreaves, and in the same year became the captain of his native Scotland.

After his sending off in the Champions League Semi-Final against Arsenal, then Inter Milan boss Jose Mourinho said that he ‘is more important than people think’ later saying that Xavi and Iniesta will be happy that they don’t have to face him in the final.


Not only will the team miss his experience, he also showed great character fighting back from a bout of ulcerative colitis that had him sidelined for over two years and his presence in the changing room can’t be overlooked.

With former captains Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic leaving, along with Patrice Evra and Danny Welbeck, the balance of the squad has changed and there is an apparent lack of coherence, but only time will tell for sure whether the loss of Fletcher will cause a bigger impact than you may have first thought.

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Darren Fletcher
Manchester United

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