Five clubs for Darren Fletcher: what can the Scot still offer?
In light of today’s news that Manchester United are set to release Darren Fletcher, so that he can move on to another club, we provide a list of five potential new clubs for the former Red Devils vice-captain.
Fletcher has so far spent his senior career as a one club man, having made almost 350 appearances for the Red Devils, who are 11/4 with Coral to lift the FA Cup, but it appears he is now to leave Old Trafford.
Having returned from a career-threatening illness, only to find himself out of favour with Louis van Gaal, Fletcher would be right to mull over his options. We consider what may be best for the former Scotland skipper’s future and what he can offer potential new clubs.
West Ham United
Ferocious Fletcher may not be able to offer the box-to-box lung-busting runs and physicality that once saw him become an underrated, yet crucial cog next to Michael Carrick in United’s starting XI, but the 30-year-old was a favourite of Sir Alex Ferguson with good reason.
Just like Carrick, ex-Scotland captain is a quiet hero, composed and intelligent in possession, and could easily find form if given a run of games as a midfield anchor.
Under Big Sam Allardyce, Fletcher could flourish again at Upton Park, as an alternative to Mark Noble in the middle, or a replacement for loan star Alex Song, whose long-term future remains unclear.
West Bromwich Albion
It looks as though West Ham (6/1 for a top six finish) have pushed to the front of the queue for Fletcher’s services, but the decorated midfielder could perhaps make the most difference at Albion (5/1 to be relegated).
The Baggies are slipping ever closer to the Premier League basement, and top quality additions are required. Players of Fletcher’s calibre don’t arrive on the market too often, so escape artist Tony Pulis has wisely put his hat in the ring.
Should Fletcher opt for a switch to the West Midlands, his experience, drive and passion could prove vital for West Brom in the engine room, but does the veteran really want to become embroiled in a relegation battle at this stage of his career?
With Fletcher’s next move likely to be his last, a move to the Mestalla could prove an exciting option.
The tenacious Scotland talent, capped 68 times, is a big game player and could boost Valencia’s hopes of claiming a Champions League place, with his nous potentially complimenting deep playmaker Dani Parejo’s guile.
Los Che may be the most viable option, with no other club on this list, aside from United, likely to be able to offer regular European football, as well as crunch clashes against the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Former boss David Moyes reportedly tried to lure Fletcher to Everton on several occasions before taking over the Old Trafford reins himself and could now return for his compatriot.
Reliable Fletcher could thrive away from the physicality of the Premier League, adding leadership and composure whilst shielding Sociedad’s defence. A change of scenery, but under less pressure than at the Mestalla, a switch to San Sebastian, under a coach who clearly rates him, may be the best shout.
Despite Fletcher having links with the Rangers youth set-up, bitter Old Firm rivals Celtic are said to be in the running to sign the midfielder, who could play alongside national teammates Scott Brown, Craig Gordon and Charlie Muglrew.
The Hoops do have a number of players in Fletcher’s position, however, with the likes of Nir Bitton, Stefan Johansen and youngsters Callum McGregor and Liam Henderson being used there this term. With all the chopping and changing this season in the middle of the park, though, Fletcher could provide a stable partner to Brown.