Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert will look to hold talks with Manchester United loanee Tom Cleverley with regards to his future as the 25-year-old midfielder’s contract at his parent club comes to its conclusion in the summer.
Cleverley, who signed for Villa in a season-long loan deal on transfer deadline day in September, appears to have accepted that his future lies away from Old Trafford and will look to explore all options thoroughly before becoming a free agent at the end of the season.
Villa have an option to buy the England international, with Villa manager Paul Lambert stating his intentions to discuss Cleverley’s future beyond the loan deal.
In quotes reported by ITV, Lambert spoke highly of Cleverley’s impact at the club so far this season, and the possibility of making a move for the Basingstoke-born player.
"I have the option to buy in January but I have got him for a season long loan anyway. I would definitely try, but a lot will depend on finances. But the great thing about Tom Cleverley is he has been brilliant here. His enthusiasm for the game and the way he plays the game is great.”
"The way he is around the place is great. I am pretty sure he loves his football here. He has been a credit to himself and Manchester United with the way he has conducted himself.”
The availability of funds will be a major factor in securing any sort of deal, with finances at Villa Park not as strong as many of their Premier League counterparts, resulting in a lack of transfer activity and loss of their brightest stars.
With Randy Lerner maintaining his intentions to sell the club should a suitable buyer come along, it is unclear whether he will be willing to make funds available to complete the move.
Villa could wait until his contract expires at United in July to avoid paying a transfer fee, but risk losing him to other potential suitors for his signature. He was linked with a move to Everton before sealing his loan switch to Villa Park in September, and
will no doubt be attracting interest from a host of clubs in the Premier
According to The Times, Villa could secure the deal as early as next month for £7.5 million, but with such a high price tag, Villa manager Lambert may be willing to take that risk of waiting until the summer before making a move.
Signing for Manchester United as an 11-year-old trainee in 2000, he was once tipped for big things by Sir Alex Ferguson as a potential replacement or the retiring Paul Scholes.
Despite not reaching the highs once tipped for him at Old Trafford, Cleverley’s potential may yet be unlocked once he secures a permanent move in newer pastures where he can be a regular fixture, and Villa Park may well be that place should he ultimately decide to stay – and if Villa can afford him.