The Premier League has accepted Aston Villa and Manchester United’s plea to allow a loan deal for Tom Cleverley, tabled two hours beyond the 11pm deadline, after the clubs said that the midfielder had not been well advised by his representatives in the frantic hours before the transfer window closed.
Cleverley appeared to be on his way to Villa for a medical on Monday evening when he pulled out of it after being told there was a better offer on the table from Everton. By the time the Goodison Park club had declared that they could not afford the deal on the table – £7.5m with £2m of that for the player – it was too late for the midfielder to turn around and get back to Villa’s Bodymoor Heath training ground.
Villa manager Paul Lambert was convinced he had missed out on the deal but Villa sought to revive it as a loan, with paperwork submitted at 1.15am this morning.
Both clubs feel that Cleverley was poorly advised. The Premier League was asked by Villa to take the chaotic circumstances and the advice Cleverley received into consideration as mitigating circumstances. United, who felt that it was in 25-year-old Cleverley’s interests to move to Villa and play regular football, supported Villa’s plea.
When United were informed of the hitch, they established from Everton that the offer on the table was not as high as Villa’s and did not give the Goodison Park club permission to speak to Cleverley.
Lambert was still at the club’s training ground in the early hours of Tuesday morning waiting to discover if the Premier League would accept the documentation it was sent by Villa. This afternoon he was informed Cleverley’s loan move, until January, had been ratified by the League board. Other clubs may be unhappy that the deadline was not adhered to, especially if Cleverley proves to be decisive for Villa. United’s loan deal for Radamel Falcao and Arsenal’s £16m purchase of Danny Welbeck were each finalised after the official 11pm cut-off point.
Cleverley’s representatives could not be reached. In a statement, the Premier League said: “The Premier League Board is satisfied that an agreement between Manchester United and Aston Villa for the season-long loan of Tom Cleverley had been made prior to the 11:00pm deadline. Therefore the temporary transfer has been approved.”
Cleverley has less than 12 months left on his contract at Old Trafford and will be free to speak to other clubs and could leave United permanently in January. There is an option for Villa to complete a £7.5m deal for Cleverley if the player impresses. But his free-agent status next summer points to Villa paying an additional loan fee in January and waiting until then to buy him. Everton may enter the race then. Cleverley is expected to make his Villa debut at Liverpool after the international break.
Cleverley said: “I’ve been watching Villa games this year. It’s a team that plays the style of football that I like. They play with high energy, they pass and move and there are a lot of good young players. The manager told me the way that he’d like me to play and it all sat perfectly for me. I’m very happy to be coming down to play for Villa.”
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