Tom Cleverley's Manchester United career had been hanging in the balance for some time now, and on Tuesday, it was confirmed the midfielder would leave the club for Aston Villa on a one-year loan. Villa announced the deal on Twitter:
Sky Sports' Pete O'Rourke confirmed on Thursday the club from Birmingham had made an offer for the 25-year-old:
A permanent transfer deal eventually fell through, and when the clock signaled the end of transfer deadline day, it appeared Cleverley would spend the 2014-15 season at Old Trafford after all. The Premier League sanctioned the loan on Tuesday, however, allowing the former England international to continue his career in Birmingham.
Cleverley had his breakthrough with the Red Devils during the 2011-12 season, establishing himself as one of the brightest young stars of British football. Untimely injuries stunted his momentum, however, and he was never able to build on his promising first season with the club's senior side.
Often the target of jokes from fans of both the Red Devils and rival clubs, it became clear when Louis van Gaal became the new manager of United that the former England international needed a fresh start.
Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe believes Cleverley could find success with Villa:
I for one believe Cleverley would be a good signing for #AVFC. The club currently collecting top-shelf scapegoats, it seems.— Sam Tighe (@stighefootball) August 28, 2014
The Guardian's Nooruddean Choudry agrees he needed the move badly:
In all seriousness, Cleverley needs a fresh start somewhere else. He did well at Wigan and Watford. But at United I'd rather play Pearson.— Nooruddean (@BeardedGenius) August 28, 2014
While Cleverley will likely never live up to the vast potential fans and coaches once believes he possessed, he still has the talent to be a top midfielder for a club like Villa.
United managed to offload a player they no longer had any need for this season, Villa brought in a midfielder with top-class experience and Cleverley finally got the fresh start he sorely needed. This appears to be a transfer deal in which there are only winners.