CELTIC, Valencia, West Bromwich Albion and West Ham have all been credited with an interest in Scotland midfielder Darren Fletcher, with speculation growing that he will soon leave Manchester United as he enters the last six months of his Old Trafford contract.
Fletcher, who turns 31 next month, has been at United his entire career but it looks likely he will move on soon as Louis van Gaal continues to rebuild the squad he inherited from Sir Alex Ferguson.
The Scotland skipper has returned to football after overcoming a serious bowel condition but has found it difficult to reclaim his place in Van Gaal’s United side. After starting the first three league games under the Dutchman, Fletcher has fallen out of favour and has been restricted to mostly substitute appearances in the time since. La Liga club Valencia, where Scot Ian Cathro is assistant manager, have now been credited with showing an interest, as have Celtic, West Ham and West Brom, who have already made an enquiry about fixing up a loan deal during the current transfer window.
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With more players set to arrive under the Van Gaal revolution, Fletcher’s chances could be set to be restricted further, despite being named vice-captain at the start of the season by the new Dutch manager. Scotland assistant manager Mark McGhee believes this could be the spur for Fletcher to make the difficult decision to cut his ties with the Old Trafford club after nearly 20 years. He points to the examples of Phil Neville, Wes Brown and John O’Shea to illustrate that leaving Manchester United means not having to accept your career is in decline. Fletcher, the Scotland assistant manager added, will be motivated only by thoughts of regular football.
“He is a good trainer, but he likes playing,” said McGhee. “Therefore, I don’t think he is a lad who wants to be sitting on the bench.
“I don’t know Darren as well as some of the other [Scotland] players. He’s not been with us as much as I would have liked him to have been. But I think that more than anything the thing he enjoys is playing.”
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