Ashley Fletcher was offered a 'fabulous' deal to stay says Neil Warnock as Middlesbrough boss looks to other targets

Neil Warnock says Ashley Fletcher was offered a fabulous deal to stay at Middlesbrough.

Saturday, 24th April 2021, 6:30 am

Boro wanted to keep the frontman, who has been sidelined through injury for most of the campaign, and presented a contract extension at the start of the year.

Fletcher and his agent decided to delay negotiations and the striker will now become a free agent when his current deal lapses this summer.

“It disappointed me at the time because I thought the offer that we made was fabulous really,” said Warnock. “Particularly in the current climate with the pandemic.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Ashley Fletcher playing for Middlesbrough.
Ashley Fletcher playing for Middlesbrough.

“I thought it was an offer that he couldn’t turn down if I’m honest.

“I’m one of those people who talks to people about signing for the club and if they tell me they will and then don’t, I always think I’m better off without them.

“That’s not just Ashley. Plenty of players have let me down over the years, saying they’ll come or shaking my hand.

“As a Yorkshireman, if someone shakes my hand or tells me they’re going to sign I believe that’s true and I take it as their word.

“If they change their mind and go elsewhere, I always think good riddance me. I’ve done that a few times over the years.

“It’s the same this year. I’ve got a few targets, I’ll talk to them and if they say they’re going to sign then great, they’ll really enjoy it.

“If they don’t come and go somewhere else, I don’t lose any sleep over it. If they're going to do that to you, then they’ll let you down on the pitch so I don’t worry about it.”

Britt Assombalonga will also leave Boro at the end of the season, meaning the club will be desperately short of strikers.

Warnock says he will have the backing of chairman Steve Gibson during the transfer window, but admits they’ll be operating in a challenging market.

“It’s going to be tough. You can’t give me a list of players who are available for the type of money we’ll be paying out,” Warnock added.

“Steve will support me as much as he can, but we’re not in a £10-15million game nowadays. Not with this pandemic.

“I wouldn’t dream of asking him for something like that.

“We’ve got to be realistic with our targets.”

A message from the Football Clubs Editor

Our aim is to provide you with the best, most up-to-date and most informative Middlesbrough coverage 365 days a year.

This depth of coverage costs, so to help us maintain the high-quality reporting that you are used to, please consider taking out a subscription to our new sports-only package here.

Your support is much appreciated. Richard Mennear, Football Clubs Editor