By Danny Wright
Middlesbrough are on the verge of completing a deal to land Ashley Fletcher from West Ham, according to a reliable journalist.
Bleacher Report journalist Dean Jones claimed on his personal Twitter account on Wednesday night that the Teesiders are “close to signing” the 21-year-old forward.
Middlesbrough are close to signing Ashley Fletcher from West Ham
— Dean Jones (@DeanJonesBR) July 26, 2017
The Mirror also reported on Wednesday that Middlesbrough were willing to splash £7million on Fletcher, who only signed a four-year contract with the Hammers from Manchester United in the summer of 2016.
Watford, Brighton and Huddersfield are all said to be interested in the youngster, but are only looking to land him on a temporary basis.
Fletcher is one of a glut of strikers that West Ham have signed in recent years that has failed to reach expectations in east London, and now he looks to have been shown the door following the arrival of Mexico international Javier Hernandez.
The former England Under-20 man featured 20 times across all competitions in the Irons’ senior squad, but netted just one goal which came against his former side Man United in a 4-1 EFL Cup loss last November.
Despite injuries to both Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho, Fletcher still failed to earn a spot in Slaven Bilic’s first-team in the Premier League as he started just two fixtures in the competition.
Football Insider Verdict
Middlesbrough have been ruthless in the transfer market this summer and seem desperate to earn an instant return to the Premier League. Fletcher is not yet tested in the Championship, so splashing £7million on him might represent a bit of a risk. However West Ham should have been a lot more patient with the youngster, who is still destined to become a decent Premier League striker in the future. Bilic was unfair with his decision to force Fletcher to the fringes of his squad, especially when loan flop Jonathan Calleri was in wretched form in the absence of Carroll and Sakho. This could definitely be Boro’s gain and the Irons’ loss.