Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher looks certain to leave Old Trafford before the January window closes on Monday night after being granted a free transfer.
This is according to the Manchester Evening News, who understand United have waved any potential fee they could have received this month in order to allow the club’s current longest-serving player to complete a move elsewhere.
Fletcher, who turns 31 on Sunday, is expected to seal a move to West Ham - although West Brom, Celtic and Valencia have also expressed an interest in the Scotland international.
Fletcher has struggled this season
United boss Louis van Gaal appointed Fletcher as the Red Devils’ vice-captain behind Wayne Rooney at the start of the season following an impressive pre-season. However, he was demoted to third-choice captain behind Michael Carrick last month after failing to convince the veteran Dutch coach in the Premier League.
In truth, the central midfielder has not looked the same combative player since overcoming the debilitating ulcerative colitis which kept him out of action for the best part of two years.
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There were times when it appeared Fletcher would struggle to return to professional football - and so the fact he is back playing at the top level shows the player’s immense fighting spirit and professionalism.
West Ham closer to signing Fletcher
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce, whose side are in contention to secure a European place come the end of the season, clearly feels the 30-year-old still has plenty to offer.
Fletcher made 342 appearances for Manchester United, winning five Premier League titles, two League Cups and an FA Cup.
He was also instrumental in helping the Red Devils reach the 2009 Champions League final, but missed the match against Barcelona in Rome after being sent off in the semi-final second leg against Arsenal.
West Ham debut v Manchester United?
A popular member of the Manchester United dressing room, Fletcher was heavily criticised by the Red Devils’ faithful during the early years of his senior career at Old Trafford, but went on to establish himself as one of the club’s most important midfielders.
The Scot has been with United since the age of 11, but now has the chance to resurrect his career - either at Upton Park, or elsewhere - starting from next week.
If he joins West Ham, Fletcher could make his debut against Manchester United on February 8.
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