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Everton announce Tom Cleverley capture on free transfer

Everton (14/1 with Coral for a Premier League top four finish in 2015/16) have announced the signing of Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley on a free transfer, with the England international penning a five-year deal to tie him to Merseyside until 2020.

The 25-year-old’s current Red Devils contract expires at the end of June and, despite spending the season on loan with FA Cup finalists Aston Villa, Cleverley has chosen to reunite with the former coach Roberto Martinez, who is looking to replenish his Toffees roster following a troubled term.

Man Utd academy product Cleverley spent one season under Martinez’s tutelage at Wigan Athletic in 2010/11, where he excelled under the Catalan tactician, contributing four goals and two assists to the Latics’ cause.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Aston Villa v Swansea City - Villa Park

When the 13-capped Three Lions star arrives at Goodison Park he will link up with fellow United old boys Darren Gibson and Tim Howard, with the Toffees (20/1 to win the 2015/16 FA Cup) having a long history of snapping up out-of-favour Red Devils.

With this announcement, Cleverley follows in the footsteps of international teammate James Milner, who recently joined Liverpool from Manchester City, also on a free transfer.

Like Milner, Cleverley will likely be hoping that a move to Merseyside for increased playing time at a top club can reignite his England career.

At Villa Park this campaign, Cleverley was able to strike up a partnership with Fabian Delph, as the most attacking midfielder in front of Ashley Westwood, hitting three crucial goals in as many matches during Villa’s great escape from relegation.

However, at Everton, the Basingstoke-born star will have to compete with the likes of injury-prone Gibson, Ross Barkley, James McCarthy and Leon Osman for a birth in midfield.

Handily for Cleverley, however, he is already well-versed in Martinez’s philosophy of retaining and recycling possession and his simple, sometimes over-cautious passing style should see him slot easily into Everton’s system.

Able to operate in numerous positions across midfield, the once highly-rated star, who made almost 80 senior side outings for United, will be expecting to restore his reputation across the Northwest divide.