Tom Cleverley’s transfer to Everton was confirmed on Friday as a reward for his excellent loan spell at Aston Villa. The second half of the season was were Cleverley came to shine and really put himself in the shop window ahead of his contract expiry at Old Trafford on June 30th.
Cleverley has signed a deal until June 2020 at least, with Everton manager Roberto Martinez sure that he has tied the midfielder down for the best years of his career. Martinez has put his faith in Cleverley, a man who he knows personally from a loan spell which he had at Wigan, to progress Everton up to the next level after their hugely lacklustre campaign last season.
Martinez engineered one of Everton’s best seasons in years in his first season in charge but suffered from a season long hangover in his second. He has also seen star players such as Romelu Lukaku state that he wants to be challenging for trophies and playing in Europe on a regular basis.
The Spaniard has acted fast in the transfer window in securing Cleverley’s signature and you would expect further incomings to get Everton back into European contention next season .
The former Manchester United player was made a scapegoat at after the Moyes campaign along with the likes of Nani and Javier Hernandez and you shouldn’t expect any tears to be shed by the United faithful over Cleverley’s exit. United would have liked to have secured a transfer fee for him but he has opted to stay in the North West long term with Everton rather than moving to the Midlands with Villa.
The pre-existing relationship which Cleverley has with Martinez should allow him to play to his best ability and under a lot less pressure than he had whilst a Manchester United player. He was inspired when Tim Sherwood took over at Villa and seemed to be vastly suited to his man-management style along with striker Christian Benteke.
Was Cleverley’s form as a result of this a flash in the pan or will he be able to reach new heights on Merseyside and be part of an Everton revival?
Everton’s midfield has reached a watershed with their great servants Osman and Barry the wrong side of 30 now and Darren Gibson’s fitness and injury problems still getting the better of him. There is potential on Merseyside with Muhammed Besic and James McCarthy as well as attacking midfielder Ross Barkley.
Everton’s problems this season came in front of goal, if Lukaku was not banging them in then there wasn’t a great contribution backing him up from behind. Only Kevin Mirallas hit double figures last season (in all competitions) other than their record signing and the question has to be asked whether Tom Cleverley is the right man to assist in this area
Towards the end of the season Cleverley went on an inspired goal scoring run scoring in 3 games on the spin, but other than this it was a lean campaign for the midfielder. He was not able to contribute any assists to Aston Villa throughout the season and with Everton’s lack of potency you have to wonder if he is going to give them anything which they do not already have in their squad
Besic and McCarthy are both comfortable ball players who do an excellent screening job in front of the back four but they are not the types of players which are going to give your team a 10-15 goal addition each season. Ross Barkley should finally be set for his breakthrough season next term after struggling with a combination of injuries and being played in the wrong position by Martinez this year and we will hopefully see the flair and fire power which has seen him likened to Gazza by many in the media come to the fore.
Martinez will be hoping that Cleverley can use the winning mentality which saw him be a part of Sir Alex Ferguson’s last Championship winning side along with his return to form at Villa under Sherwood to finally unlock his true potential and hit new peaks for his new employers.
Cleverley’s career has been given a lifeline by Roberto Martinez and he must aim to repay not only his new manager’s trust but the five year contract given to him.