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Confirmed: Tom Cleverley signs for Aston Villa on season-long loan

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More than 17 hours after the transfer window had slammed shut, one deal still managed to sneak through.

Tom Cleverley is now an Aston Villa player.

The England international was chased by Villa and Everton on Deadline Day, as the Manchester United midfielder was made available on loan by Louis van Gaal during the transfer window.

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Cleverley, 25, has fallen out of favor at Old Trafford in the last 12 months and was made a scapegoat by many during David Moyes’ disastrous tenure in charge of the Red Devils last season.

He now has a fresh start after Villa’s season-long loan deal for the central midfielder was ratified by the Premier League following the Deadline Day madness. Cleverley missed out on making England’s World Cup squad this summer but the pint-sized midfielder was not so long ago touted as the next big thing for the Three Lions. His industry in the engine room can’t be overlooked and if Villa can give him regular games they will be getting a player who has Champions League and international experience, plus, he’s got something to prove.

When all was said and done, United moved on Cleverly, Danny Welbeck, Nick Powell, Shinji Kagawa, Michael Keane and Javier Hernandez on the final day of a huge summer transfer window for the Red Devils. All of those moves should just about free up enough space on the age bill to cover half of Radamel Falcao’s wages…

Anyway, below is the official confirmation from Villa, as Cleverley will spend the rest of the 2014-15 season in England’s second-city. It’s a place he enjoys playing at, having scored at Villa Park last season in a Manchester United win.

Mourinho “working like never before” to turn Chelsea around

Jose Mourinho, Chelsea FC
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Jose Mourinho got the dreaded much-needed vote of confidence from Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich last weekend, seemingly giving the Portuguese manager a temporary stay of execution despite the Blues’ worst start to a season in 37 years.

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Speaking this week, Mourinho has revealed that while he’s thankful to have been kept on at the club for which he regularly professes his love, he still thinks it was no-brainer for Abramovich. In other words, Mourinho’s not backing down from his incredible, seven-minute rant to one question following Saturday’s defeat to Southampton.

Mourinho, on what he’s doing to turn Chelsea around — quotes from the Guardian:

“It shows the confidence of Abramovich in the manager who has won three Premier League titles with this club. I thank him and I keep working.

“What’s going on? I do not know. The results with Chelsea at the moment have been really bad. I cannot hide that reality, and I don’t want to. And I struggle to find an explanation. But I assure you: I’m working like never before and we will come out of this. And there is also the Champions League that we will not neglect, for certain.”

What did you expect from Mourinho? Well, you know, I should probably be fired, but thanks to Mr. Abramovich for not realizing this and keeping me employed? It’s simultaneously interesting and the least surprising thing ever, though, that Mourinho claims to not know what’s wrong with Chelsea at the moment. Of course he has a theory (or five), and of course he’s “working like never before” to correct it.

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The most fascinating thing about Chelsea’s sluggish start to the season is to see, hear and read Mourinho speaking from a position of powerlessness. Always the clever one, the one dictating where the discussion goes, the one in charge of every press interaction, Saturday’s rant felt like watching a desperate Mourinho grasping for anything by which to pull himself back up.

Reports link Guardiola with Manchester City summer move

Bayern Muenchen v Borussia Moenchengladbach - Bundesliga
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There are claims out of Spain that Manchester City has a verbal agreement to bring Pep Guardiola to town when his Bayern Munich contract expires in June.

Don’t expect comment from Guardiola, who bristles when discussing his future. In the past he’s hinted he might not be the right man for the Bavarian side, but has lamented any questions about clubs other than Bayern.

Now Mundo Deportivo writer Francesc Aguilar says there’s a secret agreement between Guardiola and Manchester City director of football Txiki Begiristain to reunite at the Etihad Stadium this summer.

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Both Barcelona buffs and former Spanish internationals, Begiristain was Barca’s director of football when Guardiola took over for Frank Rjikaard in 2008.

Manuel Pellegrini signed a contract extension this summer and has led the club to a Premier League title, though the club has struggled in European competition. For what it’s worth, the Manchester Evening News got rumor reaction from Sergio Aguero:

On the latest Guardiola rumour, Kun said: “It has been talked about a lot. I don’t know him, but he’s a great manager and it’s wonderful to have the best managers train you.”

But he also added: “I’m very good with Manuel Pellegrini, we talk a lot. I’m happy in the team and with him, but the club will be the one who chooses who comes in.”

In other words, “I’m really good, and they pay me well enough that I’m prepared to play for any big name that arrives.”

It’s a story to keep up with, even as it intrudes on the seasons of two big, rich European clubs.