Darren Fletcher insists Tony Pulis convinced him to join West Bromwich Albion, after the Scottish international left Manchester United in the dying hours of the deadline day.
The 31-year-old had spent his entire career at Old Trafford, but the lack of first team football under Louis van Gaal made him join the Baggies on a two-and-a-half-year contract, with the option of extending it for another year.
The midfielder was initially reported to be in talks with West Ham United over the weekend, but the deal failed to come through.
Fletcher joined Manchester United as an 11-year-old kid, and rose through the ranks to make his first team debut against Basel in 2003. Since then he has made 342 appearances for the Red Devils and has five Premier League titles, one Champions League trophy, one FA Cup and two league cups amongst other laurels to his name.
A chronic bowel disease ulcerative colitis disrupted three years of his career, but he returned to action in December 2013. However with his contract set to expire in the summer, and having made a mere five starts under the Dutchman’s regime, he was let go on a free transfer, and Fletcher feels it was the right time to move on insisting that the manager at the Hawthorns impressed him.
“It feels great. This is a fantastic new challenge for me in my career”, the former Manchester United vice-captain was quoted as saying by the Guardian.
“I’ve spent my career at Manchester United and it’s all I’ve ever known.
“But I felt it was the right time to move and I’m not sentimental about doing that – I have great memories obviously, but I’m now a West Bromwich Albion player and I cannot wait to get going”, Fletcher continued.
“Everyone involved in making the deal happen has been fantastic. And a big reason I’m here is because of the head coach.
“He has impressed me from the first minute. When someone shows how much they want you it’s a great feeling.”
West Bromwich’s chairman, Jeremy Peace, was also delighted with his new signing and felt that the player would be a great addition to their ranks.
“We are thrilled to bring in a player and a character of Darren’s calibre,” Peace said.
“His reputation in the game goes before him. We have recruited a leader on the pitch and off it and a fantastic footballer who is used to setting and following the highest standards – he will be a major addition to our squad”, he added.