Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley has completed a move to Wigan Athletic on a season-long loan deal. Manager Sir Alex Ferguson had previously said that the midfielder, 21, is too good to loan out. However, Cleverley will now spend the next year at the DW Stadium under Latics manager Roberto Martinez’ guidance.
“Tom is a very exciting young player and we are delighted he his coming to us,” said Martinez.
“He can play in a number of positions and will provide us with some good new options, and add great competition to the squad.
“We have been watching him for some time and feel he is the right sort of player to join our squad; young, hungry, desperate to play for the club in the Premier League and to grow with us.”
However, the move comes as something of a surprise following Ferguson’s previous declaration that the midfielder would stay at Old Trafford this season.
“He is an exceptional young player in terms of his ability to play a variety of positions,” Ferguson said in early August.
“He is such a talent, we must keep him. He showed at Watford that he’s a goalscorer from midfield and we need that. He has outstanding qualities.”
However, Cleverley did not make the squad for United’s three Premier League fixtures to date despite performing brightly on the club’s pre-season tour to Canada, USA and Mexico. United also failed to secure another creative midfielder in the transfer window, although Anderson – 13 goals, one for United, in 155 career games – is due to return in late September.
Cleverley will join Wigan’s battle against relegation this season in preference to a move to Bolton Wanderers. While Owen Coyle was keen to bring the England Under-21 international to the Reebok, Wigan’s ability to offer Cleverley football every week appears to have been the deciding factor.
The player scored 11 goals in 33 matches for Watford last season.