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Tom Cleverley: Everton's not so free man

The hidden fees of a free transfer coupled with zero assists in three seasons means Villa may well have dodged a bullet after all.

Cleverley's departure, a blessing in disguise?
Cleverley's departure, a blessing in disguise?
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Tom Cleverley is a much maligned footballer, his ability has been constantly questioned and the fact that he has played 13 times for his country is a disturbing insight into the mind of Roy Hodgson. However, he isn't the terrible footballer that people make out, the truth be told he is the height of mediocrity. A perfect fit for a club who have struggled to achieve exactly that over the last few seasons?

No, absolutely not. The height of mediocrity should not be earning £50,000 a week, especially given the drastic slashing of the wage bill which has been the priority of the club since the appointment of Lambert in 2012. Furthermore, free transfers are never totally free, due to the lack of an initial fee it means that a heightened signing on fee is demanded by the player, or more likely his agent. So, the illusion that Cleverley would be joining for free is a bit of a false friend, although admittedly the fee probably wouldn't have been too costly.

The worry with losing Cleverley is that his industry allowed Delph a slightly freer role, which he relished. However, the sometimes awesome-sometimes awful Carlos Sánchez shouldn't be completely dismissed. It often takes time for players to adjust to the Premier League and that was certainly the case in his first few games, however, he did show marked signs of improvement and an ever present in that exciting Colombian team who featured so prominently at the World Cup means that, perhaps, it is time to give him a second chance. Players often improve significantly in their second season; fellow Colombian Juan Pablo Ángel jumped from 1 goal in 11 appearances to 16 in 34.

However, I am not putting all my eggs in the Sánchez basket, another midfielder does have to be signed and one who should be challenging for a starting position next season.