Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley might be on his way to Villa Park before the transfer window closes Monday after Paul Lambert's side have been linked with an £8 million move for the player.
The Telegraph (and Twitter) insinuate that talks might be advanced to the point where Villa have had a bid accepted for the player with Lambert keen to beat Hull City and Everton to the punch on signing the England international. Cleverley—a product of United's youth setup—has made 78 appearances for the club over the last three years, netting five goals.
Truth be told, I'm not sure that I have a very strong opinion either way on this deal if it were to go through. On one hand, £8 million is probably overpaying for a player that new United manager Louis van Gaal wants out the door. And on that note, it's also debatable whether or not a move for Cleverley would be wise, considering Villa are more in need of a truer attacking midfielder than Cleverley. Throw in the fact that Ron Vlaar and Fabian Delph still aren't signed up for next term and you've got a fair number of criticisms of the proposed move.
But on the other side, I really do think that (at least in a vacuum), Cleverley would be a worthwhile addition to this Villa squad. He's the type of guy that could flourish playing against other generally average players and like we've seen with Ashley Young in reverse, a lack of success at Manchester United doesn't mean that the player couldn't make an impact at one of the lesser clubs. He's been at Old Trafford over the last three years and while he hasn't performed admirably, he's been generally average.
During his loan spell at Wigan Athletic during the 2010/11 season (the only chance he's had to play for another club in the Premier League), he recorded four goals and two assists which, quite frankly, would be fine production from a Villa midfielder. And I think you'd be right to question if Cleverley could bring something in the attacking midfielder role for Villa as it's where he started out as a player and scored 11 goals in 33 league appearances for Watford when he was loaned there five years ago.
Cleverley is 25 years old and coming to a crossroads in his career where a move away from Old Trafford would give him an opportunity to reinvigorate his career. You'd have to think he'd be "hungry" if he came to B6 and as we've seen a glimpse of with Aly Cissokho, players that don't perform for the big clubs can still be solid players for Villa. If Lambert's promised Cleverley a chance to play in the "No. 10" role, I could very well see this move happening.
If Tom Cleverley shows up at Bodymoor Heath posing with the Villa shirt on Monday, I'd be cool with that. He'd be a fine addition to the squad. But if he doesn't? That's cool too. Hopefully it'd mean a more natural attacking midfielder and new contracts for Fabian Delph and Ron Vlaar. We'll have to wait and see how this one turns out.
Think Cleverley would be a good signing? Or do you buy United fans' view that he's a horrible player? Let us know in the comments!