Manchester United give Leicester City's Jeff Schlupp trial but lose Darren Fletcher
Manchester United have taken the young Leicester City attacker Jeff Schlupp on trial with a view to signing him on a permanent deal.
But fresh doubts have been cast over the career of Darren Fletcher, the United midfielder, after he was ruled out for the season following surgery to resolve his ulcerative colitis condition.
The 28-year-old has made only two substitute appearances since his last start on 1 December, yet the club say the operation was a "planned procedure" to resolve a long-term problem.
Schlupp, 20, has been training at Carrington with the permission of his parent club, who have a close relationship with United and have taken players on loan from the Premier League club in the past. The young United defender Michael Keane has recently extended his loan at Leicester and forward Jesse Lingard, another young United player, has just returned from a loan spell there.
Schlupp is relatively inexperienced even in Championship football and has not played in the first team since November. He is a striker who can operate on the left and has also played some games at left-back for the club. He broke into the side last season having played on loan at Brentford in the 2010-2011 season.
A product of the Leicester academy, Schlupp made an immediate impact when he broke through into the first team at the start of last season and scored a hat-trick on his debut away to Rotherham United in the League Cup. He played fairly regularly last season in spite of injuries.
He is a senior Ghana international, his one cap coming in November last year. Previous to that he played junior international football for Germany – he was born in Hamburg before moving to England as a youngster. He underwent knee surgery last season but the club still gave him a new contract until 2015.
There have been a number of players developed at United who have gone to Leicester in recent seasons. The club currently have three in their first-team squad: the defender Ritchie De Laet and the midfielders Danny Drinkwater and Matty James.
Meanwhile, United said in a statement that the decision for Fletcher's operation to resolve the ulcerative colitus, which has hampered him since March 2011, was taken "at the optimal time having achieved a period of sustained good general health, as illustrated by the fact that Darren has trained with the team regularly this season and been available for selection right up to the operation."
The statement added: "We look forward to him returning next season with this problem firmly behind him."