Tom Cleverley is ready to listen to what Aston Villa have to offer, as he considers signing a permanent contract with the club.
Out of favour at Manchester United, Louis van Gaal was prepared to let the midfielder join the Midlands club on loan for the duration of the campaign. The 25-year-old has taken his opportunity and has now registered 29 matches in the Premier League, and he has featured in every round of their FA Cup run which has taken them to a Wembley final against Arsenal next month.
Cleverley is out of contract at Old Trafford at the end of the current season, and it is unlikely he will be offered fresh terms. This means he will soon be available on a free transfer, and having now established himself as a key member of Tim Sherwood’s starting XI, the England international admits he is willing to consider signing a permanent contract to extend his stay at Villa Park.
“I’ve really got to like playing for this club in the last few months,” he said. “This manager, you have to give him credit for getting me where I am over the last few weeks. I feel like I’m playing in my best position. Confidence is high among the team. I’m happy and playing with a smile on my face. First the club have got to offer me something and then I’ll definitely have a look.”
Cleverley was once considered to be one of the best talents at Old Trafford, and has made 79 outings for the Reds. Although he is now unlikely to add to this number, he can at least leave the club with some honours to show for his effort. He was part of the side which won the FA Community Shield in 2011 and 2013, and also featured 22 times in the title-winning team of that year.
Sherwood, meanwhile, has made no secret of his desire to keep Cleverley in the Midlands for the long-term. The Villa boss accepts that the midfielder is likely to have more than one option ahead of the 2015/16 season, with Everton already heavily linked, but he does have an advantage as he joked: “I’ll just tell him that if he doesn’t sign for us, he won’t be playing in the FA Cup final!”
How important is it for Aston Villa to keep hold of Tom Cleverley, and how integral can he become for the Midlands side over the coming seasons?