Back in the summer window of 2016, West Ham secured the services of striker Ashley Fletcher on a four-year contract.
The young Englishman had come up through the ranks at Premier League giants Manchester United but had failed to make a senior appearance for the Red Devils, with a loan spell at Barnsley in 2016 his only taste of first team football before a move to Slaven Bilic’s West Ham.
And the potential and overall talent of the 23-year-old certainly interested several West Ham fans on Twitter, with plenty raving about the club’s decision to lure him to the London Stadium…
— Richard Menzies (@EddieMenzies) July 12, 2016
he scored against mill wall in the playoff final, already a legend
— Danny (@danny13kennedy) July 12, 2016
— Martin Johnson (@EdwardJames) July 24, 2016
welcome to the family!! Many years of success for you and the team #COYI
— Dave Enright (@booshmoon2) July 12, 2016
nice job , welcome to
— Dave J (@davejhammer) July 12, 2016
— Mr Indifferent (@GoateeJoe) July 12, 2016
Brilliant news, welcome Ashley! COYI!
— Kim P (@KimWHU) July 12, 2016
— Adam McTaggart (@Taggsy79) July 12, 2016
Yet with no goals to show for his time in East London, to the point that he is was playing in League One with Sunderland earlier this year, it’s clear that Bilic got this addition horribly wrong, and as such seriously let down those Hammers supporters with a poor transfer call.
Ultimately, there were many optimistic West Ham fans following the arrival of Fletcher given his decent season on loan at Barnsley the campaign before, what with the youngster netting nine times in all competitions for the League One club.
Yet it was always going to be a huge step up for the 23-year-old regardless of how talented he appeared to be, and that eventually bore fruit as the former England Under-20 international endured a miserable time in East London.
The striker appeared 20 times in all competitions for Bilic’s side in the 2016/17 campaign, but managed to register just one goal for the club, which came in their 4-1 defeat to Manchester United in the League Cup – he appeared 16 times in the Premier League, but failed to net a single goal.
And it appears that Bilic became wiser to the fact that Fletcher simply wasn’t good enough given the forward appeared in five of their opening six Premier League games of that season, only to feature eight times in their next 29 league matches – it was a testing time for the Englishman, who was simply out of his depth.
Remarkably, West Ham earned £6.5 million out of the deal given they offloaded him to Middlesbrough little over 12 months on from signing him from United, but the 23-year-old has struggled there as well to the point that he is played his football in the third tier with Jack Ross’ Sunderland, for whom he scored twice in 16 matches in the second half of last season.
Thus, while it was a move that excited several members of the West Ham fan base, it’s plainly obvious that those supporters were hugely let down by a really poor call from former boss Bilic.
West Ham fans… what do you think? Let us know!
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