Belfast Telegraph

Hammers 'are keen on Fletcher'

Sam Allardyce has confirmed West Ham are one of the clubs chasing Darren Fletcher but claims the Hammers are yet to speak to the Manchester United midfielder.

Fletcher, who has made 342 appearances for the Red Devils, has only six months left on his contract at Old Trafford and is struggling to establish himself under new boss Louis van Gaal.

Tony Pulis has admitted West Brom are in talks to sign the 30-year-old Scot and Allardyce hopes Fletcher will make a final decision soon.

"We've had no permission to speak to Darren Fletcher," Allardyce said.

"He's got quite a few clubs interested in him so when he makes his mind up everyone will know.

"I don't know what the timeline is. If any of the other packages offered to him are accepted then we would accept that.

"Or if they hadn't made their mind up or were negotiating somewhere else that would be it. We can't wait forever.

"I always think at this stage of the window, if you do get something nailed on you have to take it because you might end up with nothing if you don't."

Allardyce also rejected suggestions made by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on Thursday that English clubs would attract greater talent if the work permit rule was scrapped.

The rules state a player must have featured in 75 per cent of his country's international matches over the last two years to be considered an outstanding talent that would benefit the league.

"I think the rules are fine at the moment," Allardyce added.

"You can get a work permit if there is an exceptional talent and it can be proven.

"For me, exceptional talent is what it's all about.

"We've gone so far down the road now it's very difficult to change the number of foreign players here but to make it even easier is a no-no for me."

West Ham visit League One high-fliers Bristol City in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday, hoping to take another step forward in the tournament after beating Everton in round three via a dramatic penalty shoot-out.

"We've got to continue where we left off against Everton," Allardyce said.

"We showed a huge amount of determination and ability to get through after extra time.

"We were only a minute away from winning at Everton and we should have been more comfortable at home but we got through in the end.

"We know it would be a real waste of all our time and energy getting through that round if we then didn't beat Bristol City.

"This game is very important to our season, we've been very successful in the league so we want now to be successful in the cup."

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