Tom Cleverley to sign for Everton

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Tom Cleverley will bring his 15-year association with Manchester United to an end this week by signing a five-year deal with Everton.

The Toffees have won the race for the England midfielder's signature ahead of the likes of Aston Villa, Southampton, Swansea City and even Arsenal.

This is according to The Times, who understand Everton are hopeful of concluding a deal for the 25-year-old within the next 72 hours. He will sign a long-term deal worth around £50,000-a-week.

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Cleverley has spent the 2014-15 campaign getting his career back on track with Aston Villa, scoring three goals in 37 appearances.

His performances helped to keep Villa in the Premier League, while he also ended his spell at Villa Park with an FA Cup runners-up medal.

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Cleverley is rebuilding his reputation

Cleverley had the option to stay with Tim Sherwood's side but has opted instead to sign for Everton, who finished six places above Villa in the Premier League table.

It's likely that Everton boss Roberto Martinez has assured Cleverley of regular first-team football at Goodison Park, but the unspectacular midfielder faces stiff competition from the likes of Ross Barkley, Gareth Barry and James McCarthy for a place in the Toffees' midfield three.

Cleverley's Manchester United career effectively ended the moment Louis van Gaal decided he was surplus to requirements at Old Trafford.

Van Gaal appeared to be reasonably impressed with Cleverley in pre-season last summer - even handing him the captain's armband against AS Roma - but he made just one competitive appearance under the veteran Dutch coach before finding himself shipped off to Villa.

The much-maligned Cleverley was touted for big things when he finally broke into Manchester United's first team following loan spells with Leicester City, Watford and Wigan Athletic, but for one reason or another it never quite happened for him at Old Trafford.

Scapegoat comments irritated fans

Cleverley told reporters in February 2014 that he felt he'd been made a scapegoat for Manchester United's poor form under David Moyes - but these comments failed to improve his popularity amongst the Red Devils faithful.

"When I first started getting singled out, it stung," the midfielder told the Mirror - according to Sky Sports - at the time. "But it's something you have got to learn to take when the team is not doing well.

"My job goes under the radar at times. I am not a player who's going to beat three or four people and stick it in the top corner or go round tackling people like Roy Keane.

"I would like the fans on my side and it hurts a little bit when you have grown up at the club and love the club every bit as much as the supporters.

"But there are other people in the current United squad who have been through this kind of thing and they have made sure their quality shone through.

"I have got to look at those people. I have learned to take it with a pinch of salt and I'm sure it will make me stronger for the rest of my career.

"I feel I've been made a scapegoat a little bit. A few people in the media certainly seem to have a perception of me not doing much in the team.

"Don't get me wrong, I know I can do better but people are making a big thing about how I don't score enough goals when that is not necessarily my first job in the team."

Cleverley needed to leave United

A fresh break was precisely what Cleverley needed, and Everton will provide him with the ideal platform to show why Manchester United and England have handed him so many opportunities over the past few seasons.

Manchester United fans: are you disappointed that Tom Cleverley is leaving Old Trafford? Have your say in the comments below!

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Tom Cleverley
Premier League
Manchester United
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