Tim Sherwood has joked he could leave in-form midfielder Tom Cleverley out of the FA Cup final if he does not sign a permanent deal at Villa Park.
Cleverley netted for the third consecutive game on Saturday to seal a 1-0 win over West Ham that takes Villa four points clear of the Premier League drop zone with two games to play.
With guaranteed safety now in sight, Villa can start preparing for the Wembley showpiece at the end of the month, where they will face holders Arsenal.
Sherwood will hope Cleverley can take his current form onto that stage as he tries to convince the Manchester United loanee to join permanently.
“We’d like to keep him but he’s obviously got a few options – even more now,” Sherwood said.
“I’ll just tell him if he won’t sign he’s not playing in the cup final!”
Sherwood believes Cleverley’s next move will be based on what is best for his career and hopes Villa’s financial limitations will not scupper their chances.
“I think he’s enjoying his time here,” said Sherwood.
“But we’re only going to pay him £250 a week and someone else will give him fifty grand!
“It will come down to money but it will also come down to where he thinks he’ll play his best football because he’s still a young man. Not all these players are mercenaries.”
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