Darren Fletcher cannot be part of the prestigious list of one-club players as he wished. But leaving Manchester United at the moment is the best move for all involved.
Fletcher has signed for West Bromwich Albion on a three-and-a-half-year deal. The 30-year-old completed his move late on Monday night, after an extension was granted for the deal to be completed beyond the 11pm deadline.
Earlier, Fletcher was expected to sign for West Ham. The deal fell through, however, as the London club just wanted to make a loan deal, while Manchester United wanted a permanent one.
Whichever new club it was going to be, Fletcher is getting to a whole new chapter in his career; a new challenge. The biggest challenge, considering Fletcher has been at Manchester United since he was 11. As he confessed in the first interview with West Brom, Manchester United is all he has ever known.
But it is a challenge Fletcher has to take, if he really wants to continue playing regular football. The level of requirement at Manchester United under new manager Louis van Gaal is too high for Fletcher to get a place in the first XIs.
Fletcher actually only started four matches for Manchester United this season, three of which saw him substituted before minute 70. At just 31, he is not old enough to accept a bench warmer role waiting for retirement. And while competing at Old Trafford seems too much for him, the Scottish international is still considered a huge boost for mid-table and struggling teams like West Brom.
There were concerns over Fletcher's fitness. He clearly is not the industrious midfielder we all know before having to withdraw from football for almost two years because of his ulcerative colitis condition.
Yet he is totally cured from that illness after surgery. And Manchester United confirmed that he is one of the only four players to have a 100 per cent attendance record for club training sessions this season.
He was, therefore, ready for a move. And while his farewell may cause some sadness and regret among the fans, and Fletcher himself, it is a move that benefits all the parties involved.
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