With the Premier League transfer window officially opening this morning, Manchester City, Liverpool and West Ham have all already dipped into the market.
Plenty of players are already out of contract, including one Darren Fletcher. Which is surprising, considering that he played in every single Premier League game for West Brom last season. Almost all of them were starts, with just one appearance off the bench.
He made himself one of Tony Pulis’ mainstays and was apparently offered a new contract by the Baggies. However, there are reports today that he’s turning it down for a move to another Premier League club.
According to the Mirror, Fletcher is set to link up with another former United man in Mark Hughes at Stoke.
It’s a handy signing for the Potteries. Fletcher made 74 tackles and didn’t pick up a yellow or red card at all last season. Going forward he grabbed two goals, three assists and made 1,220 passes.
Fletcher spent twelve seasons at United, before moving to the Hawthorns three years ago. After suffering from ulcerative colitis, he made a successful recovery to maintain his place at the top level.
Not only that, he’s the current Scotland captain, and has 78 caps for his country.
Now, however, he looks set to become the latest man to be signed to dislodge Glenn Whelan from the Stoke midfield, so there’s going to be some serious competition in Stoke’s midfield next year for a starting place. Hughes has to choose from Gianelli Imbula, Joe Allen, Charlie Adam, and even Stephen Ireland.
His contract doesn’t officially run out until the end of the month, but similar to Pablo Zabaleta’s move to West Ham, expect an announcement about the move imminently.