Darren Fletcher has left West Bromwich Albion for Stoke City. Photo: Reuters / Andrew Yates

LONDON – Scotland international midfielder Darren Fletcher joined Stoke City on Thursday on a free transfer after rejecting an offer of a new contract from their Premier League rivals West Brom.

The 33-year-old former Manchester United star – who will join fellow former West Brom teammate Saido Berahino at Stoke – signed a two year contract with his new club ending a two-and-a-half year stay with West Brom.

His loss will be keenly felt by the club where he has been captain since he signed from United in 2015.

Fletcher, who during his 12 years at United won four Premier League titles and the 2008 Champions League amongst other silverware, said he had enjoyed his time at West Brom but he felt he needed a new challenge.

"It's all happened incredibly quickly, but I am delighted to be here," the 78-times capped Fletcher told the Stoke City website.

"This is a fantastic Club with a top manager (Mark Hughes) and a great group of players and I am really looking forward to this opportunity.

"I loved every moment of my time at West Bromwich Albion and I loved every moment of my time with Manchester United, but this is a new challenge for me now, and I like to think I respond well to new challenges."

Pulis for his part said he held no grudges against Fletcher.

"Of course there is a disappointment in seeing Fletch move on and we wish him well," Pulis told West Brom's official site.

"I was happy that we made him a fair and competitive offer but, as is his right, he has chosen to accept another opportunity.

"He has been my captain since he came into the club and he has led the team superbly. But that is football and we move on. Nothing stays the same forever and the game moves on."

AFP