After three goals in three games, Tom Cleverley is flying high. Deservedly so, I might add - the transformation the midfielder has undergone under Tim Sherwood is nothing short of astounding. He has gone from a frustrated footballer to someone who is clearly enjoying his time on the pitch. Now, he has suggested that he is eager to sign a permanent deal with Villa. "I've really grown to like playing for this club in the last few months and this manager has got to be given credit for getting me where I've been in the last few weeks," said Cleverley.
After never quite making a breakthrough into a Manchester United side, the 25-year-old midfielder was signed on loan by Paul Lambert at the deadline of the transfer window last fall. He had always shown promise, earning 13 caps for the England National team, but had never been able to completely fulfill his promise. United fans were constantly on his back for his poor performances - take a look at some of these reactions to a Twitter Q&A with Cleverley. Even at Villa, under Lambert, Cleverley did not show enough for the club to exercise the 7 million pound option to make his move permanent in the January transfer window. At that point, Villa seemed resigned to finish the season with him, and then move on when his loan expired.
Enter Tim Sherwood. Obviously, Sherwood saw something in Cleverley that Lambert couldn't get out of him. Cleverley always had an abundance of energy, but under Sherwood, that energy now seems to have a purpose. He's formed a great partnership with Fabian Delph in the middle of the park. He's also found his shooting boots, scoring three in three games and having one or two other decent strikes on target.
"This club ticks all the boxes," said Cleverley, days after his game winning goal versus West Ham United. "We'll see what happens. First of all the club have to offer me something." That shouldn't be a problem, given that Sherwood said he would like to sign him just a few days ago. He even went so far as to joke, "I'll just tell him if he won't sign he's not playing in the cup final!"
While Cleverley will surely have a number of suitors this summer, his future might not necessarily be swayed by money. "I don't think any Premier League players are going to be short of a quid or two," continued Cleverley. "I think you've just got to be happy first and foremost and I am at this club so let's just see where we go from there." It's clear from his passionate goal celebrations that he cares about Aston Villa and is loving life in the claret and blue. The fans, the manager, and his teammates seem to be loving him as well. A permanent move seems to be in the best interests of both player and club, so let's hope that a deal can be signed sooner rather than later.