Will Aston Villa live to regret delay in Tom Cleverley negotiations?

Aston Villa failed to make Tom Cleverley's move from Manchester United permanent during the winter window and may live to regret that decision.

If you believe what you read, then Aston Villa are playing a risky game when it comes to the future of Tom Cleverley.

Speculation towards the end of the winter transfer window, with The Guardian among those to report on the matter, suggested that Manchester United were ready to recall the midfielder.

They were said to be keen on seeing Villa commit to a permanent deal for a man taken on a season-long loan in the summer of 2014.

No deal was done, but Cleverley will see out the campaign in the Midlands.

Villa have, however, left the door open for others to join the chase for the 25-year-old as he is due to be out of contract at the end of the season.

The Daily Mail claim the England international could be whisked away to Everton, with the Toffees still in the market for creative talent.

Villa may have missed the boat and that could prove costly as, in a disappointing campaign on the goal-scoring front, Cleverley has at least been looking to provide a spark and keep Paul Lambert’s side ticking over.

  Total Att AssistBig Chance CreatedGoalsDuel LostTotal Through BallDispossessedAppearancesMins Played
Tom Cleverley 19 1 0 79 0 17 20 1,651
Andreas Weimann 17 0 3 70 0 14 22 1,465
Fabian Delph 14 0 0 50 1 15 13 1,084
Gabriel Agbonlahor 9 1 3 162 0 35 21 1,718

Cleverley will be disappointed not to have found the target but, a remarkable loan spell at Watford in 2009/10 aside, he has never been prolific and has always been more of a creator than a taker of chances.

It has not been easy for him competing in a side severely lacking in firepower, with no-one at Villa Park offering any kind of thrust in the final third.

Their struggles, coupled with their reluctance to talk terms in January, could see Cleverley explore other options.

He will struggle to force his way back into the international picture and add to his 13 caps if he is playing without confidence and end product, so a return to the North West in the summer may appeal.

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