Martinez believes that United didn’t want to sell to a “higher” club than them.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez has taken a cheeky dig at Manchester United after he saw a late bid for midfielder Tom Cleverley rejected, report the Express, suggesting that the Red Devils were keen not to sell to a direct rival who finished above them at the end of United’s dismal 2013/14 Premier League campaign.
The Toffees tried to sign Cleverley out of the cluthes of Premier League rivals Aston Villa, before Paul Lambert was able to push through the deal for the England international on a loan deal, with Martinez believing that United’s reluctance to loan Cleverley to Goodison Park was down to his side’s impressive performances last season:
“Maybe they just didn’t want to send a player on loan to a club that is going to be challenging for things and finished above them last season, I don’t know.”
“You can look at the table from last season and we finished fifth and they finished a bit lower, so from that respect you can understand.”
With United having started the season slowly and still sitting near the bottom of the table and without a win after three league games, it is not out of the question that they will be direct rivals with Martinez and Everton again this season, although Louis van Gaal will hope that late window signings of Angel di Maria, Daley Blind and Radamel Falcao will tip things in his favour.
Martinez is known to be a big admirer of Cleverley, having had him on loan during a successful spell that the player spent at Wigan Athletic, and the report suggests that he could be keen on a permanent move for Cleverley at the end of the season if his contract at United is not extended.