Manchester - Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal said Friday he was prepared to let Darren Fletcher leave on a free transfer to Premier League rivals West Ham as he ruled out adding to his squad before Monday's transfer deadline.
The 30-year-old Fletcher has played for United for over a decade and has made almost 350 appearances for the club where he has so far spent all of his career.
But despite being made vice captain by van Gaal at the start of the season, the Scotland international - whose life, let alone career was threatened when he was diagnosed with the bowel condition ulcerative colitis in 2008 - has made only five starts this season.
Fletcher was having a medical with West Ham on Friday and, should his move go through, he will leave for the London club with the manager's blessing even though United announced Friday that England midfielder Michael Carrick had been ruled out for the next four weeks with a "ruptured muscle".
"He is an important guy in the dressing room," van Gaal said of Fletcher at a news conference on Friday.
"I like him as a human being and a player. We shall miss him but he has not played many times.
"That is the main goal of a player and we have talked about that and he preferred to play, therefore we have helped him.
"For us it's a miss and for the other club who bought him it is another player with a lot of qualities, as a midfielder but also as a captain.
"He is a very experienced player. But we also have in the same role another experienced player and that's the problem here."