They may have an option to sign Tom Cleverley on a permanent basis, but Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert is taking nothing for granted.
Having struggled for form under David Moyes at Manchester United last season, the midfielder also failed to convince new head coach Louis van Gaal of his first team ability. The Dutch coach was therefore happy to send him on loan to Villa for the entirety of this season, which effectively ends the player’s spell at Old Trafford as his contract is set to expire during the coming summer.
When taking him in the temporary deal Villa secured the option to sign Cleverley on a permanent basis, and it has been suggested they may look to do this in the January window to avoid being dragged into a bidding war with rival clubs. However, Lambert is certainly taking nothing for granted in this sense, and admits the potential to strike an early deal all comes down to finances.
“I have the option to buy in January but I have got him for a season-long loan anyway,” he said. “I would definitely try but a lot will depend on finances. I will have a discussion with Tom and sit with him and see what he thinks. He is still a Manchester United player. But he has been brilliant here. The way he is around the place is great. I am pretty sure he loves his football here.”
Roberto Martinez is also a huge fan of Cleverley, having had him on loan whilst at Wigan Athletic. Now at Everton, the Spaniard was thought to be keen on signing the 25-year-old before the start of the season, but was beaten to the punch by Villa. But it is believed that the Toffees coach has not yet given up hope of eventually signing him, and may look to do so on a free in the summer.
Should Aston Villa rush to take Cleverley on a permanent basis, or does he still have a lot to prove? Let us know what you think by joining the discussion below.