Middlesbrough forward Ashley Fletcher has signed for Premier League side Watford on a free transfer. The Hornets have confirmed the news via their official website.
Middlesbrough allowed the 25-year-old to depart the Riverside before his contract came to an end, but he will officially join Watford on next month on July 1st.
He was offered a new deal, but although initially wanting to stay, Fletcher ultimately turned it down. Instead he opted to keep his options open. With a move to the top flight on the table, it was a no brainer for the player.
The switch to Vicarage Road has been in the pipeline for a number of weeks, even prior to Watford’s confirmed promotion. He has shown he can do it in the Championship, ending the 2019/20 campaign as Middlesbrough’s top scorer, though a number of injuries meant he didn’t play as big a part as he wished he could have in 2020/21.
Now he will be given a second crack of the whip in the top flight. He played 16 games for West Ham United during the 2016-17 season, although he failed to find the net during his one season for the Hammers.
Next season, Fletcher is likely to be competing with the likes of club captain Troy Deeney, Joao Pedro, Andre Gray, Isaac Success, and Stipe Perica, although the latter could be on his way out after Barnsley’s £1.5 million bid this week.
Whilst there is also the possibility of last season’s loan departures returning to the first-team picture, with Adalberto Penaranda and Cucho Hernandez in contention for Xisco Munoz’s side.