Why Villa loanee's form could prevent signing of United man

Aston Villa's need to sign Tom Cleverley from Manchester United has been reduced because of Gary Gardner's form at Nottingham Forest.

The form of Gary Gardner whilst out on loan with Nottingham Forest has reduced Aston Villa's need to sign Tom Cleverley on a permanent basis.

Cleverley has impressed under Tim Sherwood recently, but Gardner's excellent displays down in the Championship mean that he should come into Villa's first-team next season.

The 22-year-old has been a major reason behind Forest's run of form, with his performances at the base of their midfield being the foundation which Dougie Freedman has built his side around.

Gardner has provided great protection for his defence, whilst he has also shown his offensive qualities.

It means that even though Cleverley is expected to be available on a free this summer, Villa have no need to use up part of their wage-bill on capturing him. 

Cleverley has improved considerably under Sherwood's guidance, but he has been largely average throughout his loan spell so far and there should be no great urgency to ensure that his move is turned into a longer one.

Indeed, so far this season Gardner's displays have unquestionably been more impressive than the England international's.

  GoalsGoal AssistPasses per gameInterceptions per gameHeaders per gameTackles per gameAppearancesMins Played
Gary Gardner 3 1 39 2.18 2.54 3.27 11 844
Tom Cleverley 0 0 45.31 0.86 0.45 2.63 22 1802

The Villa youth product has claimed three goals and one assist in just 11 games with Forest, whereas Cleverley has not been able to impact on Villa's game in attacking sense at all.

Defensively, too, Gardner has the edge, with his figures for tackling, heading and interceptions greater than Cleverley's.

Although it should be noted that these performances have been put in at a lower standard than Cleverley's, it does suggest that Garnder can have a part to play for Villa next season.

By bringing in Cleverley on a permanent deal, though, Villa would be jeopardising the progress of one of their own academy graduates and, therefore, signing the United man would be an unwise move for Sherwood's side. 

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