Roberto Martinez hopes the signing of Tom Cleverley has put down a marker that Everton mean business in the coming years.
The 25-year-old’s career appeared to be meandering after a few below-par seasons with Manchester United but he roared back to form with a solid year on loan at Aston Villa.
The Midlanders, who are priced at 5.00 to be relegated next term despite showing their potential with a late-season revival, were keen to keep hold of the midfielder but boss Tim Sherwood acknowledged that it would be tough financially to compete with bigger clubs and it was the Toffees who got their man.
Cleverley has put pen-to-paper on a five-year deal at Goodison Park, with the length of the contract clearly showing that the Merseyside club rate the England schemer highly.
Martinez has worked with the Basingstoke-born star when the pair were at Wigan Athletic and he feels that they have signed a class player who will add something different to their ranks.
“Having worked with him previously, I know the type of character he is and I know that, with the Everton fans’ support, we will get a very special footballer joining our already exciting team,” said the Spaniard.
Cleverley was out of contract at Old Trafford and had been linked with a number of clubs due to his stellar displays during the campaign with Villa.
And Martinez believes the fact that he will be wearing blue next term is a shot in the arm for Everton.
“It says a lot also, when someone like Tom is available on a free transfer and he can pick his next club out of many options home and abroad, that he has chosen to play for our football club,” he added.