Manchester United's on-loan midfielder Tom Cleverley will reject the opportunity to join Aston Villa permanently in favour of signing a long-term contract with Everton in the summer.
The 25-year-old moved to Villa Park on a season-long deal after being told by Louis van Gaal that he has no future at Old Trafford, and will be free to leave the Red Devils on a Bosman free transfer at the end of 2014/15.
Villa boss Paul Lambert had hoped the £70,000-a-week star would commit his future to the Midlands club after impressing in each of his 17 appearances so far this term. However, according to the Daily Star, Cleverley now has his heart set on a switch to Goodison Park.
The Toffees have been struggling in the Premier League this season, but Roberto Martinez hopes that the acquisition of Cleverley will improve their prospects moving forward, especially with the anticipated departure of Ross Barkley at the end of the campaign.
Barkley is understood to have attracted interest from reigning champions Manchester City, and providing they are willing to pay the attacking midfielder's £40 million valuation then a switch to the Etihad Stadium looks like happening.
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It was previously reported that Cleverley would make his Aston Villa move permanent in the January transfer window, with the club ready to meet Manchester United's £7 million asking price.
However, those plans have now gone out the window after the former England international made the surprise transfer U-turn in the hope of securing a move to Everton to link up with Martinez on Merseyside.
Cleverley has worked with Martinez during a previous loan spell at Wigan Athletic, and that could well be the reason why he is determined to be reunited with the Spanish tactician next season.
The recent departure of Roy Keane - who resigned from his role as Aston Villa assistant manager - might also have played some part in Cleverley's reluctance to stay at his existing club beyond the current campaign, with Everton now the clear favourites to secure his signature.