Ashley Fletcher has revealed that his Middlesbrough exit was down to feeling ‘let down’ following late talks over a new contract.
The striker was told back in April that he was no longer a part of the club’s plans with his deal set to expire over the summer, before the club confirmed his departure in their end of season retained list.
While the next destination is yet to be confirmed for the 25-year-old, reports from the Watford Observer have claimed that Fletcher is set to sign a deal with the Hornets ahead of their return to the Premier League.
But with that move yet to be announced, Fletcher has been pondering his Middlesbrough exit and suggested that he might have stayed at the club if his future had been decided earlier.
Speaking to BBC Tees, Fletcher said: “I was offered a new deal around Christmas time.
“As a 25-year-old Championship striker that’s getting to a dangerous time for the football club because from January I’m free to speak to other clubs. So I felt a little bit let down by the club.
“We’d spoken earlier in the season but agreed to wait until a little bit later to see what was happening because I was injured as well.
“So in a way I had a little bit of power in terms of what I do going forward with my career. I’m 25, English, had a decent season the year before, so it’s obvious you’re going to attract interest.
“The ball was in my court. I was injured at the time and I just said to the club I wanted to come back and get myself fit and we’d speak at the end of the season. I had that power in deciding where to go because I was on a free transfer.
“I did want to stay at Middlesbrough, but other things come along and you have to take a look at it as well.
“Ultimately, the decision was kind of taken out of my hands. But there are no regrets and no bad blood.”
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While it does seem foolish to let Ashley Fletcher’s contract tick down to its final six months, I’m sure that Middlesbrough’s supporters won’t be too disappointed by this.
Fletcher was a decent player for the club but never really found the sort of consistency that many expected of him after he arrived at the club in 2017.
Many will have wanted him to stay but now that his future has been decided I don’t think that it will take fans too long to get over the whole situation.
Good luck to him if he is heading to Watford, but for Middlesbrough the focus will be on finding a suitable replacement.