Everton have agreed a deal to sign out-of-contract Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley on a five-year-deal. The 25-year-old will be a free agent at the end of the month and the Toffees have moved quickly to secure his services. He was also called into the England squad for Sunday’s friendly with the Republic of Ireland to replace the injured Ryan Mason of Tottenham.
The Basingstoke-born player spent last season on loan at Aston Villa for whom he played in last week’s FA Cup defeat by Arsenal at Wembley. Cleverly has previously worked with Everton manager Roberto Martinez during a season-long loan at Wigan in 2010/2011 and the Spaniard is a known admirer of the England international.
“I can think of many reasons why fans will enjoy Tom representing our club,” said Martinez. “The most important one is that he is a perfect fit for what we are trying to build here as he has so much experience of playing in the Premier League and he still has his best years just ahead of him.”
The Everton manager believes they have signed a player who is entering the peak of his career. Martinez later added: “the most important one is that Cleverley is a perfect fit for what we are trying to build here as he has so much experience of playing in the Premier League and he still has his best years just ahead of him.”
Martinez was keen to bolster his midfield and the capture of Cleverley at the second attempt will do that, although the Toffees boss is in the market primarily for a number 10 who can play behind the striker. He also needs another centre-back after the departure of veteran Sylvain Distin following the expiration of his contract.
The midfielder has also had loans at Leicester, Watford and Wigan; where Martinez was in charge, then won the last of his 13 England caps in November 2013. Cleverley has been called up to the England squad for the upcoming friendly against the Republic of Ireland and the European Qualifier against Slovenia. He has featured 13 times for his country since making his debut in England’s first match after Euro 2012 in a 2-1 win against Italy at the Stade de Suisse in Bern.
Cleverley last played for Villa in the 4-0 defeat by Arsenal in the FA Cup final. He is now understood to have had a medical at Everton’s Finch Farm training ground on Friday in preparation for becoming their first signing of the summer.