Could Manchester United use beleaguered midfielder to sign £50m star?

Tom Cleverley

Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley has come under increasing pressure lately, but could they have found a potential suitor for his services?

The England international has failed to really kick on in his career, and has become an underwhelming member of the United midfield. Unable to offer much going forward or defensively, Cleverley simply appears to work hard and play simple passes, which doesn't seem to be enough for fans that watch him.

Cleverley remains a key squad member for Moyes at Old Trafford and with the England squad under Roy Hodgson, but it was Everton manager Roberto Martinez who moved to defend the midfielder, who he signed on loan for a season whilst manager of Wigan Athletic in 2010.

After Cleverley was booed during England's recent match with Denmark, Martinez stated that the recent criticism for the 24-year-old was unfair, and that as a young player, Cleverley needs support rather than abuse at this stage in his career.

"There are only a few players in this country who have had the sort of education where they look as if they could have been brought up in Holland, Spain or France," he said. "Tom [Cleverley] is one of them. I just don't understand this campaign, it is not the way to encourage young players.”

"Maybe he has been given a bigger role than he should have been given but even so it is ridiculous to put someone so young in the spotlight then knock him down. We as a public are to blame if we allow that to happen. You have to help young players reach a level,” he added.

"What has happened is not Tom's fault, I think he is as good a talent as we have in the English game, and he is still growing. You wouldn't get this in other countries, and I find it disappointing that he is being judged so aggressively when he has not even reached 200 games. Such a young player does not need that sort of scrutiny or pressure, but I am sure he will come through it and be even more motivated."

With that in mind, United fans and analysts have pondered the possibility of Cleverley making the move to Goodison Park – despite rumours that Moyes is set to hand the midfielder a new five-year contract to stay at Old Trafford – and one particular move could be beneficial to a number of parties.

United are still seeking reinforcements in the centre of midfield, and Everton starlet Ross Barkley had bee tipped to reunite with former boss Moyes in the future after an impressive season for the Toffees. A fee of around £50m had been suggested for the 20-year-old, but United would be wise to try and offer up Cleverley as a makeweight in a summer deal for Barkley, with Martinez clearly a fan of the beleaguered midfielder.

By bringing in a huge amount of money and a replacement for Barkley too, Martinez could build upon a strong first season in charge at Goodison Park, whilst Cleverley would be away from the spotlight at Old Trafford and could continue to develop without the huge amount of pressure on him.

image: © eschipul

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