There is no denying that Darren Fletcher is a great footballer, the players he has been surrounded by, the experiences he has had, and the silverware he has won – also he has 66 caps for Scotland and was given the captaincy. All of these things will bring good to the West Ham dressing room; he would be a leader and a role model to young players.
But I don’t think he will get much first-team football, he just doesn’t have the legs anymore to do the work in midfield, he isn’t as athletic as Cheikhou Kouyate and Alex Song, and also you’ve got the fact that Mark Noble is West Ham through and through. I don’t see him replacing anyone in the West Ham midfield for these reasons.
If he does leave Manchester United, it will be on a free transfer, and other than our normal four we do not have enough cover in midfield, an extra midfielder would actually be very useful for West Ham. Fletcher is a better, younger player than Kevin Nolan, who is played when we don’t have one of our normal four available; he doesn’t have the athleticism anymore to get up and down the pitch as a midfielder, he’d be useful as a substitute for the last 20 minutes of a game to get a goal here or there. But not as a full 90 minutes box-to-box midfielder.
Overall, I’d rather have Darren Fletcher than not have him because when we are a midfielder short we have a choice between youth players and players who are past their best.
There are more benefits to signing Darren Fletcher than there are losses. I think a player of his experience and quality deserves a fresh start after a battle with illness and a lack of first team football. He needs to play again to get back to the way he was before he began suffering from ulcerative colitis and illnesses subsequent of that.