West Bromwich Albion defender Gareth McAuley disappointed with transfer dealings after Darren Fletcher sale

General view of fans outside the stadium before the game

The former Manchester United man was huge for West Brom, but he has now joined Stoke City on a free transfer.

West Bromwich Albion's Darren FletcherWest Bromwich Albion's Darren Fletcher

With West Bromwich Albion fans still frustrated that their captain Darren Fletcher left to join Stoke City on a free transfer, they can take solace from the fact that the players are also aggrieved - namely Gareth McAuley, as reported by the Birmingham Mail, and really, he has every right to be.

How Fletcher wasn't tied down at West Brom is a mystery, with the former Manchester United man playing in all 38 Premier League fixtures for the Baggies last season, 37 of which were starts, and the 33-year-old also scoring twice and assisting on three occasions.

The fact that Fletcher has, in essence, taken a sideways step to join Stoke must rankle West Brom fans, as there is nothing Mark Hughes can offer the experienced midfielder that West Brom couldn't - the Potters finished one point behind Pulis' side and didn't exactly set the cup competitions alight, either.

It's fair to say the move hasn't gone down well, and now that a highly respected player like McAuley has gone on record to express his disappointment, at least Baggies fans may not feel alone in their grief.

“Fletch was a big, big player for us on and off the pitch," McAuley said, as reported by the Birmingham Mail. "He was our captain and I was a little disappointed he has moved on but people come and go in football all the time and I am sure the club will work hard to try and find a suitable replacement.”

West Brom manager Tony PulisWest Brom manager Tony Pulis

Quite how West Brom replace Fletcher remains to be seen, and fans may be expecting Pulis to sanction an eight figure bid for a player capable of filling in for the 33-year-old, though whether his replacement will be half as good remains to be seen.

Given his age, it was always inevitable that Fletcher would leave the Hawthorns at some point - be it through retirement or gradually being worked out of the team - but to lose a key player for nothing to a divisional rival must hurt, and it's little wonder that McAuley is aggrieved

West Bromwich Albion's Gareth McAuley celebrates scoring their first goal with Chris BruntWest Bromwich Albion's Gareth McAuley celebrates scoring their first goal with Chris Brunt

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