Darren Fletcher looks set to sign for West Ham despite the news that Michael Carrick has been sidelined for at least four weeks with a muscle injury.
Louis van Gaal suffered yet another injury setback on Friday after the Manchester United manager confirmed Carrick will miss the whole of February because of a “rupture” to an unspecified muscle.
The news is a big blow to the Dutchman, who lost the midfielder for four months earlier this season due to an ankle injury.
“It is not a minor injury but a muscle rupture, I think,” he told MUTV.
“I think it shall take more than four weeks.
“He can be important for the team but he is now injured.”
Other than Daley Blind, United only have Anderson as cover in defensive midfield and the unwanted Brazilian may well leave Old Trafford before the transfer window shuts on Monday night.
Yet despite the lack of cover, Van Gaal will not block Fletcher’s move to east London.
The Scot, 30, was undergoing a medical at West Ham yesterday after the club he has served all his life granted him a free transfer.
Fletcher and Carrick were named as deputies to skipper Wayne Rooney last summer, but the Scot has only started four Premier League matches this season.
Van Gaal admits he will miss the midfielder, who has played 342 times for the club he joined as a schoolboy 20 years ago.
“He is my third captain. He is an important guy in the dressing room. I like him as a human being and as a player. We shall miss him,” Van Gaal said.
“But he has not played so many times. I think always that is the main goal of a player. We have talked about that. He prefers to play. Therefore we have helped him to go away.
“For us, it is a miss, a loss. For the club who bought him, it is another player with a lot of qualities, as a midfielder and as a captain.
“He is a very experienced player.”
Van Gaal added there will be no major incomings before the deadline, though.
“No. I read every day that I am interested in players. I am not interested in players,” Van Gaal said when asked if he would sign anyone before the window shuts.
“I have said we are selling or letting players go....but you never trust me.”