West Brom captain Darren Fletcher joins Stoke on free transfer

Stoke have announced the signing of Scotland midfielder Darren Fletcher on a free transfer from West Bromwich Albion.

Fletcher, 33, has signed a two-year deal and will join the club next month when the transfer window opens.

Fletcher had been in contract talks with the Baggies, having triggered a one-year option in his favour earlier this season, but has opted not to extend his two-and-a-half-year stay.

"It's all happened incredibly quickly, but I am delighted to be here," Fletcher told Stoke's official site. "This is a fantastic Club with a top manager 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."

Fletcher becomes Mark Hughes' first summer signing but just two weeks ago West Brom boss Tony Pulis was convinced club captain Fletcher would stay at The Hawthorns.

Fletcher made 97 appearances for the club and was handed the armband within a week of joining from Manchester United in 2015.

"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.

"We are determined to progress the team forward during this transfer window and this does not change that."