The soon-to-be free agent scored three goals in 38 games for the claret and blues while on loan from Manchester United this past season.
Tom Cleverley has hinted to AVTV that his relationship with Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood and his backroom staff could be the decisive factor in the club’s bid to sign him to a permanent deal this summer.
Cleverley, 25, joined Villa on a season-long from Manchester United in September in an effort to get his career back on track following a testing 2013-14 campaign, but the midfielder’s performances under former boss Paul Lambert flattered to deceive.
The club failed to exercise the option to make his move permanent for £7.5 million in the winter as a result but the loanee has since experienced a resurgent spell of form following Sherwood’s arrival, scoring in three consecutive games after a 16th-month goalless spell and even earning support for an England recall.
With his United contract expiring this summer, Sherwood has not hidden his desire to secure the Bradford-native’s services to a permanent deal, but there is now believed to be serious competition for his signature.
Along with Villa, two other clubs are said to have held talks with Cleverely over a move, including Premier League rivals Everton, who are believed to be the favourites for his signature at this point [h/t Sky Sports].
His relationship with Roberto Martinez has been fuelling rumours of a potential switch to Goodison Park for some time now, having worked with the Toffees boss during his spell on loan at Wigan Athletic, but the England international has stressed that he also shares a great rapport with Sherwood and his staff after just a few months together.
Speaking on his time at Villa Park, Cleverley said: “I’ve enjoyed it massively. He’s just my type of manager. He likes players full of passing and running and that’s the style that I like to play.
“I think the squad has really reacted off him – he’s just full of energy and positives vibes. It’s been a pleasure to come in every day and work with him and his staff, who’ve been top class as well.
“Kev [assistant manager Kevin MacDonald] does a fantastic job of managing the squad and makes sure everyone’s happy, while Robbo [first-team coach Mark Robson] is a great coach and puts on some fantastic sessions.
“Parksy [goalkeeping coach Tony Parks] has also brought a new lease of life, as he seems to be the energy around the place, so it really has worked well.”
“It’s a club which deserves to be winning and making FA Cup finals and that’s why I signed here.”
Money talks, of course, but it sounds like Villa still have every chance of bringing Cleverley back to the Midlands for the long-term.