By Alex Stevens
Watford will hold talks with Everton during the international break in a bid to seal the signing of Tom Cleverley, according to a report.
The Mail claim Walter Mazzarri’s side want to tie up the £8million permanent capture of the on-loan midfielder regardless of the appearance clause in the contract that took him to Vicarage Road in January.
It is said that Watford want to secure the signature of Cleverley, 27, and not wait for him to automatically trigger the transfer at the points he makes nine appearances during his loan.
Cleverley has rejuvenated his career at Watford following a difficult spell at Everton following the arrival of Ronald Koeman last summer.
He has made eight appearances for the Hornets, starting the team’s last seven matches, including their 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Watford are next in action on 1 April when they host relegation-threatened Sunderland in the Premier League at Vicarage Road, a match the Mail and other publications claim will trigger the permanent clause in Cleverley’s loan deal.
The 27-year-old, who joined Everton on a free transfer in the summer of 2015, has three years to run on his contract at the Merseysiders but appears to have played the last of his 42 matches for the club.
He was a fringe player in the opening half of the campaign and then slipped further down the pecking order following the January arrival of Morgan Schneiderlin and the emergence of academy product Tom Davies.
Football Insider verdict:
Cleverley’s time at Everton looks up and this reported clause will serve to finalise the process. From Everton’s perspective, £8million seems a decent fee, notwithstanding the player’s age and the three years left on his Toffees contract. It could be a good deal for all three parties. Cleverley has found his level at Watford, where he can expect to be a regular, but Everton have superior alternatives, especially following the January signing of Schneiderlin and the stunning emergence of Davies.
In other Everton news, there is friction at the club between manager Ronald Koeman and director of football Steve Walsh.