Everton manager Roberto Martinez is plotting an audacious move for Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley in the summer.
According to James Ducker of The Times, Everton are prepared to offer £8 million for the England international, as Martinez has identified Cleverley as the prime summer transfer target alongside striker Romelu Lukaku, who has joined on loan this season from Chelsea.
The 24-year-old enters the final 12-month of his contract and Martinez believes he can bring the best out of the player and is willing to commit a substantial amount of his transfer kitty to try to lure him from Old Trafford.
Ducker says that could take nearer to £12 million to persuade United to part ways with the midfielder, especially with David Moyes on the brink of being sacked and any new manager may not encouraged by the ideas of selling him.
Cleverley had an impressive season when on loan at Wigan Athletic from United in 2010-11 under Martinez, where the midfielder was used in attacking positions by the Spaniard as opposed to the central midfield role.
In summer, there would be more pressure for Manchester United to address their midfield problems. Anderson could be sold, Darren Fletcher is no longer the same player he once used to be while Michael Carrick showing signs of age – therefore it remains to be seen whether United would be willing to sell Cleverley or not.
Ducker adds that Martinez “would push ahead with plans to sign Cleverley” as doubts remain over the future of Gareth Barry.
Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck also faces an uncertain future at Old Trafford with Arsenal and Spurs interested in signing him.