COMMENT By Danny Wright
Leeds fans will be delighted to know that their club could have another shot at signing West Ham striker Ashley Fletcher in the summer.
Now Leeds, who were reported by the Daily Mail as being close to signing the 21-year-old in January, may be able to have another bite at their target as they will look to strengthen their squad for what could be their first Premier League campaign in over a decade.
Garry Monk’s side are flying high in the Championship and look set to earn themselves at least a play-off spot in a fiercely contested division.
Fletcher had featured in the matchday squad in all of West Ham’s Premier League games this season bar the opening day loss to Chelsea.
However his last appearance on the pitch was in the 4-0 loss to Manchester City at the beginning of February and he was completely axed from the side that drew 1-1 with Watford on Saturday.
The former Manchester United and Bolton academy prospect just doesn’t seem to be in Slaven Bilic’s first-team plans at this stage in his career.
The striker has no goals to his name in the league and the only time he found the back of the net was in an EFL Cup loss against his former employers, Man United.
Despite his ailing first-team form, Fletcher has still shown he is capable in a handful of Under-23 appearances. He’s scored three goals in seven Premier League 2 matches.
Fletcher will be desperate for first-team time next season and if Bilic can’t guarantee him this, he might have to look elsewhere.
Leeds would be the perfect destination.
If they miss out on promotion, Fletcher would be the perfect man to help fire them back into the top league next season.
If they get promoted, Fletcher would have the chance to prove to West Ham that he can cut it at the top level, in a hungry team that Fletcher wouldn’t be at a disadvantage to in terms of experience.
If Chris Wood keeps up his goalscoring form, he will attract interest from other clubs whether the club achieve promotion or not, which means Leeds would need a top new striker.
In an ideal world though, Wood would stay and join up with Fletcher to create a strikeforce that would have real depth and quality.
Whatever happens, Fletcher is a player that the club knows all about – and that could save a lot of time when it comes to summer recruitment.