West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce has confessed that the mooted deal to bring Manchester United's Darren Fletcher to Upton Park is looking unlikely.
The Scot, who has spent his entire career to date at Old Trafford, had been allowed to leave the club on a free transfer by boss Louis van Gaal due to a lack of playing time. He has started just five games since the charismatic Dutchman's arrival.
He was heavily linked with a number of sides both in England and across Europe, but it appeared that the high-flying Hammers had stolen a march on their rivals.
However, speaking after his side's 2-0 loss at the hands of a rejuvenated Liverpool, which saw the Reds leapfrog West Ham, Allardyce simply stated: "Fletcher broke down on negotiations this morning."
He failed to divulge further, although United boss Van Gaal alluded to the terms of the deal proving a stumbling block, hinting that West Ham were keen on a loan deal whilst United hoped to get rid of Fletcher in a permanent basis.
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"That was not the agreement," he added.
Fletcher has made over 300 appearances for the club since progressing through the youth system and has been hailed for his reliability and work rate despite not always being the most spectacular of players.
He has struggled with illness over the past few seasons, specifically ulcerative colitis that saw him miss the majority of the 2011/12 and 2012/13 seasons. As a result he has failed to feature regularly of late and has become frustrated at a lack of playing time.
Van Gaal did hint, however, that Fletcher, 31, could be in line for more first team action in the future if he does remain at Old Trafford.
"Manchester United just want to help him [Darren Fletcher] play more," - Louis van Gaal
"Manchester United just want to help him play more. For him now that is a big pity," he said following his sides victory against Leicester City.
With only two days remaining in the transfer window it now appear likely that the midfielder will remain a one-club man for the rest of the season