Tom Cleverley's proposed transfer to Aston Villa could be about to collapse, with reports suggesting that the Manchester United midfielder's wages are too high for the club to meet.
Speculation earlier this week claimed that the Villains had made a bid of around £7 million for England international Cleverley, with the player even said to have discussed the merits of a potential switch to the midlands with former Manchester United legend and current Villa assistant manager Roy Keane.
However, according to The Daily Express, Cleverley's £70,000-per-week earnings would be too much for owner Randy Lerner to sanction, potentially leaving transfer rivals Everton and Valencia in pole position to sign him before the transfer window shuts on Monday night.
United fans' joy
The news that Cleverley is likely to leave Old Trafford in the coming days has largely been greeted in good spirits by the majority of Manchester United supporters.
While few seem to be doubting his commitment and work-rate, the general feeling appears to be that Cleverley - along with several other of his current teammates - is simply not good enough for to perform consistently for the club at this stage as they seek to return to the Premier League's top four following a horrific 2013/14 campaign under the guidance of the hapless David Moyes.
In truth, the 25-year-old has become somewhat of a target for sustained criticism during recent seasons, with onlookers struggling to pinpoint exactly what role Cleverley is supposed to play in the team.
With Louis van Gaal expanding his options at Manchester United with the British record capture of Angel di Maria and the imminent signing of versatile compatriot Daley Blind, Cleverley is not the only player on his way out of the club with Javier Hernandez, Wilfried Zaha and Shinji Kagawa also expected to leave shortly.
Villa boss Paul Lambert will presumably be disappointed if wage demands scupper this particular transfer, with the Scot obviously of the belief that Cleverley can have a positive impact at Villa Park.
Lambert has been active in bolstering his squad in recent weeks, with the experienced trio of Joe Cole, Philippe Senderos and Kieran Richardson arriving at the club along with the likes of former Liverpool loanee Aly Cissokho and Colombian midfielder Carlos Sanchez.