For those expecting Tim Sherwood to wave a magic wand and then everything to come up roses at Villa Park over the summer, think again.
The first clue to the type of summer Villa are going to have is not a good one with Tom Cleverley choosing to sign a five-year deal with Everton, rather than make his position at Villa permanent.
While many attribute Christian Benteke’s goals to saving Villa from the drop last season, Cleveley’s dynamism in the midfield was as vital, and his winners against Everton and West Ham provided Villa with an extra four points that made all the difference in saving Villa from a bottom three position.
[quote_center]”We’re only going to pay him £250 a week and someone else will give him £50 grand!” – Tim Sherwood on Cleverley[/quote_center]
This was a player that Sherwood wanted to stay and also a player just a few weeks ago that was making the right noises to suggest he would be playing in a claret and blue shirt next season.
“I don’t think any Premier League players are going to be short of a quid or two, said Cleverley last month. “You have just got to be happy first of all. I’ve really got to like playing for this club [Villa] in the last few months.
“I feel like I’m playing in my best position, confidence is high, not only among myself but also among the team. All those factors help. I’m happy and playing with a smile on my face.
“This club ticks all the boxes so we’ll see what happens. First of all the club have to offer me something.”
Obviously, whatever they offered wasn’t enough.
At the end of the day, perhaps it was not winning the FA Cup and giving Cleverley the chance to return to Wembley in August and also play European football, that swung the ball in Everton’s favour, since they were willing to offer him more money.
Cleverley’s wage is expected to be in the region of £50,000-a-week, which is mainly down to the fact he’s a free transfer, so he can demand a little more with the club saving on any transfer fee.
Sherwood knew it would come down to money, unless Villa could offer him those big game occasions, which the team’s failure in the final put pay to.
“It will come down to money but it will also come down to where he thinks he’ll play his best football because he’s still a young man,” said Sherwood, last month.
But Sherwood isn’t naive and realises that he would probably have his hands tied by Tom Fox and the Villa board on the issue, when he quipped:
“But we’re only going to pay him £250 a week and someone else will give him £50 grand!”
While a mass clear out is needed at B6, Cleverley was one of the players that was responsible for Villa’s survival. We shouldn’t really be outbid by Everton, especially when the player has spent a season at the club. It has to go down as a dropped catch. And more worryingly, a sign that Villa remain in a state of austerity limbo and seem to be going nowhere fast.
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