Leeds’s hopes buoyed by Fletcher’s decision

Leeds United target Ashley Fletcher celebrates after scoring for Barnsley in the League One play-off final (Picture: Tony Johnson).
Leeds United target Ashley Fletcher celebrates after scoring for Barnsley in the League One play-off final (Picture: Tony Johnson).
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Leeds United’s hopes of signing Manchester United striker Ashley Fletcher have increased after the 20-year turned down the offer of a new contract at Old Trafford.

Fletcher’s current deal with Manchester United is set to expire next week and his decision to reject an extension has cleared the way for a transfer to the Championship this summer.

It is believed that Fletcher plans to start pre-season with the FA Cup holders while he weighs up his options, but a departure from Old Trafford now appears likely with Leeds and other second-tier sides vying to sign him.

Manchester United are entitled to compensation for Fletcher on account of his age and could return to him with an improved proposal, but the forward is aware of serious interest from Elland Road.

Fletcher, who finished last season on loan at Barnsley, was watched by United owner Massimo Cellino during the League One play-off final at Wembley in May, a match in which the youngster scored the opening goal.

Barnsley are one of the sides interested in taking Fletcher permanently and both Bristol City and Wolves have been linked with him in the past few days.

Leeds, however, are ready to meet his wage demands and are confident of luring Fletcher to Elland Road.

A local company has pulled its sponsorship of Chesterfield “in light of recent events”.

The decision comes at the end of a week that saw the League One club agree a 12-month contract with striker Ched Evans, although the company refused to confirm if that was the reason behind the decision.

The Welsh striker, 27, signed an initial one-year deal with the option of another 12 months and he will officially become a Spireite on July 1, a little over three months before he will go on trial for rape.

Derbyshire-based fitting company HTM Products has sponsored Chesterfield for six years, but has said it will no longer do so.

A post on the HTM Products Derbyshire LTD Facebook page said: “In light of recent events, HTM products has ceased all sponsorship arrangements with Chesterfield football club. Jon Knapp-Managing Director.”

When contacted, HTM would not elaborate on the decision.

Evans will be in court on October 4 charged with raping a woman in May 2011. He has pleaded not guilty.

The former Manchester City and Norwich player was jailed in 2012 for raping a 19-year-old woman but the Court of Appeal quashed his conviction in April.