Ashley Fletcher's shocker for Sunderland emphasises West Ham bargain

Ashley Fletcher of West Ham United takes on the Middlesbrough defence during the Premier League 2 match between West Ham United and Middlesbrough at London Stadium on April 10, 2017 in...

Ex-West Ham United boss Slaven Bilic pulled a stroke of genius by getting £6.5 million for Ashley Fletcher after latest mare for Sunderland.

Ashley Fletcher of West Ham United takes a shot on goal during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur at the London Stadium on May 5, 2017 in Stratford,...

When West Ham United sold Ashley Fletcher to Middlesbrough for £6.5 million last summer, the feeling was that it represented a very good deal for the London club.

After all, the 22-year-old striker, signed for free a year previous, had gone 16 Premier League games without scoring and the feeling was that the top flight was just a bit too tough for him at the time.

But fast forward eight months and it now looks more obvious than ever that West Ham pulled off a superb bit of business.

Ashley Fletcher of West Ham United takes on the Middlesbrough defence during the Premier League 2 match between West Ham United and Middlesbrough at London Stadium on April 10, 2017 in...

Fletcher joined Sunderland on loan from Middlesbrough last month after netting once in 16 Championship games, and his stint on Wearside is just going from bad to worse.

The Black Cats lost 1-0 at Bolton Wanderers last night in what was arguably Fletcher's worst performance of the four that he has played, fluffing a host of goalscoring chances to salvage something for Sunderland.

Ashley Fletcher of West Ham United arrives at the stadium prior to the Premier League match between Middlesbrough and West Ham United at the Riverside Stadium on January 21, 2017 in...

Unless his form picks up dramatically, Boro won't be able to give him away this summer and the fact that West Ham earned £6.5 million from him has never looked a better deal.

It must be noted that the Irons did some pretty poor business last summer too, with the signing of Joe Hart being a notable gaffe, but admitting their mistake with Fletcher and getting paid handsomely for the mistake could and should be remembered as a masterstroke by then-manager Slaven Bilic.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch