The transfer window slammed closed yesterday at 11 p.m., but that didn't stop Aston Villa and Manchester United from working out a last minute deal. Now, the Premier League has approved, despite the lateness of the hour, and Tom Cleverley will join Villa on a season long loan.
***What Sky Sports News is reporting is that the loan is through the rest of the season, but can be broken by either club in January. Others are saying that Villa can pay £7.5m in January to bring him on permanently. It's almost certain Villa can choose to buy him in January, but whether he can stay without that purchase doesn't seem quite clear. Is that even an option?***
Well, this has all been a bit of madness, hasn't it? It's not the sort of thing Villa have become accustomed to on deadline day. And, of course, we Villa fans would've preferred it worked out differently. First Cleverley pushed his luck, trying to get Villa to pay outrageous wages. Then he turned Villa down flat, saying he'd hold out for a move to Everton.
Everton, however, weren't willing to screw around, not even offering wages equal to Villa's. Cleverley came back to the Lions, and the deal was hammered out in the hours after midnight. The league gave its stamp of approval, and Cleverley is headed to Villa Park.
Yesterday, some fans seemed rather relieved to not be taking on the midfielder. But -- despite the rather irritating circumstances surrounding the deal -- this may have worked out for the best. Cleverley comes in on kind of an audition, then Villa get to decide whether to keep him. It's not a case of training up some youngster only to turn him back over to his parent club, but rather remaining in (relative) control of the situation.