Former Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher has revealed that the Red Devils wanted him to stay at the club rather than leave during the winter transfer window.
The Scotland international, who had called Old Trafford his home since 2003, moved during a late deadline-day deal to West Brom, and has cited the chance to get regular game-time under his belt as the main reason.
Yet despite the fact that his departure from United was one that few fans will have been left surprised by, the player himself has revealed - as relayed by talkSPORT - that he spoke with Louis van Gaal, and that had he listened to the club’s wishes he might have opted not to switch clubs.
“I haven’t had as many games as I would like this season and, after everything I’ve been through, I’m a professional football player. I want to play football and hopefully I can do that at West Brom. They’ve given me the opportunity to do that.
“I’m leaving Manchester United but I’ve got so many happy memories and got to know so many great people there I’m leaving with a smile on my face.
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“I spoke to the manager [Louis van Gaal] about not playing as much as I wanted and the club didn’t really want me to go but they respected my wishes.
"I spoke to the manager [Louis van Gaal] about not playing as much as I wanted and the club didn’t really want me to go but they respected my wishes."
Lack of game time
Having been a stalwart under Sir Alex Ferguson Fletcher became one of the most senior players in the squad when the legendary manager finally stepped out of the dugout. Under David Moyes he featured minimally though, with his problems battling ulcerative colitis restricting him to just 11 appearances in all competitions last season.
Any hopes that he would enjoy a resurgence under Van Gaal were soon snaffled, with the Dutchman’s lucrative regime instigating the arrivals of Ander Herrera, Daley Blind and Angel Di Maria, all of whom can play midfield.
Fletcher was made vice-captain to Wayne Rooney, having seemingly impressed during the pre-season period, but even that was taken away from him when Van Gaal decided to change his second in command to Michael Carrick.
Transfer to The Hawthorns
Fletcher’s two-and-a-half-year deal with West Brom will now see him likely having to stave off relegation rather than compete for titles, but the 31-year-old will nonetheless be a fine addition to Tony Pulis’ squad.
The Baggies currently sit dangerously close to the drop zone and are in need of some inspiration, having been humbled most recently by a Harry Kane-inspired Tottenham Hotspur.
As for United, Fletcher wasn’t the only player to leave during the January window, and it’s likely there will be a few more choosing to exit during the summer. With Van Gaal promised new funds to play with there’s a host of names on his supposed transfer wish-list, and if Europe’s biggest stars are coming in that means there will have to be casualties to make room for them.