West Bromwich Albion captain Darren Fletcher has hailed the arrival of Jonny Evans at The Hawthorns after Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal allowed the defender to join Tony Pulis's Midlands outfit. Fletcher made the same move himself last January, and is convinced his former and current teammate will regain his best form under Pulis's stewardship.
Manchester United have not signed a centre-back during the current window, despite being linked with the likes of Sergio Ramos, new Manchester City signing Nicolas Otamendi and Everton's John Stones. But after Van Gaal deployed Daley Blind in the role, alongside Chris Smalling, in the opening matches of the season, the club have allowed other centre-backs to leave. Tyler Blackett has joined Celtic on loan while Evans made a permanent move to The Hawthorns in a deal worth £6m ($9.2m) plus add-ons.
The 27 year old has made 198 appearances for Manchester United after emerging from their youth ranks. However, he made just 14 appearances last season, spending two months on the sidelines following a spitting incident with Newcastle United striker Papiss Cissé. Fletcher, however, believes he will rediscover his best form at WBA.
"Jonny is a fantastic player, a great leader. He is a top player. He has been at Manchester United for a long time," the Scotland skipper said to the club's website website. "He has had a few injuries in the last few years, which maybe stunted his progress in that respect. But if he gets a run of games you are going to see a real top-class player. I'm delighted he is at West Brom because I can't speak highly enough of him. He is a top-class centre-half."
Evans himself has previously claimed that Fletcher was a major influence on his decision to move to The Hawthorns. "I spoke to Fletch regularly. I rang him just after he had made the move here from United and he said how much he was enjoying his football," he said after completing the move.
"When West Brom came in for me, it definitely had an influence on me. I was able to speak to Fletch quite a few times and he assured me he was still enjoying it."