By Alex Stevens
Ashley Fletcher has joined West Ham on a free transfer after agreeing a four-year contract, it was announced on Tuesday night.
The Hammers confirmed on their official website the 20-year-old striker has opted to join Slaven Bilic’s side despite interest from a number of clubs.
The east Londoners announced on their official Twitter account that they had completed a deal for Fletcher nearly a fortnight after it was widely reported that they had beaten Leeds to his signature.
— West Ham United FC (@whufc_official) July 12, 2016
The forward’s arrival at the Olympic Stadium makes him the first striker signed by West Ham this summer, although Bilic is still expected to bring a proven 20-goal-a-season man to the club as they press ahead with talks to sign Carlos Bacca in a £26million move from AC Milan.
Fletcher was a free agent after rejecting a new contract offer from United and without making a senior appearance for the Premier League giants.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 12, 2016
Fletcher spent the second half of the 2015-16 season on loan with Barnsley and scored nine goals in 27 appearances, including the first one as the Tykes secured promotion to the Championship with a 3-1 win against Millwall in the play-off final at Wembley.
United offered the youngster a new deal but he has rejected it in favour of regular first-team football.
Fletcher will become Slaven Bilic’s seventh signing of the summer following the arrivals of Gokhan Tore, Sofiane Feghouli, Toni Martinez, Havard Nordtveit and Domingos Quina.
Meanwhile, West Ham have publicly made it clear they are ready to smash their club record transfer fee this summer of £15.5million, which was spent to entice Andy Carroll from Liverpool in the summer of 2013.
Carroll is comfortably the Hammers’ record signing, although the club have also spent £10million-plus fees on the likes of Payet, Enner Valencia and Angel Ogbonna.
In other West Ham transfer news, teen sensation Reece Oxford is increasingly likely to leave the club this summer.