Jack Clarke’s career at Leeds United reads; 25 matches, 814 minutes, 290 passes, 28 crosses, 18 shots, 17 chances created, 6 shots on target, 2 goals, 2 assists. And now you can add £10 million as a stat on that list as he looks set to join the long Leeds of young Leeds United players who have been sold to fund the club when he puts pen to paper on a 5 year, £20,000 a week deal with Tottenham Hotspur worth an initial £10m to Leeds United with further add-ons following a successful medial on Wednesday afternoon. Clarke would be Spurs first signing since Brazil forward Lucas Moura joined from Paris St-Germain in January 2018.
Born in York, Clarke rose through the Leeds United Academy signing a professional contract in November 2017 after impressing coach Thomas Christiansen with his performances for the U23s. Clarke made his first team debut, coming on as a substitute in the 1–1 draw against Brentford at Elland Road last October, scoring his first goal a few weeks later against Aston Villa at Villa Park. His first league start came in the 2-0 victory against Derby County in January amidst the ‘spygate’ scandal, a game in which he was involved in both Leeds goals and picked up the man of the match award.
Clarke’s appearances sparked interest from several Premier League clubs but Leeds managed to keep hold of him in the January transfer window. It is unfortunate that now, with club finances the way they are, he becomes the sacrificial lamb to enable further investment in the squad. The sale of at least one of our prized asses was inevitable and comes after the sales of other young talent in previous seasons; Sam Byram 2015, Lewis Cook 2016, Charlie Taylor 2017 and Ronaldo Vieira last summer. What is crucial now is that the transfer fee is reinvested in the playing squad and the rest of our prized assets are kept.
The young winger made his biggest impact from the bench last season and was never quite the same after he collapsed having been substituted off against Middlesbrough in February. Despite his limited first team game time so far it is clear Clarke is a fantastic talent. So much so Daniel Levy has put his hand in his pocket for the first time in 18 months. Had he remained at Leeds he could have made a significant contribution next season with both wings key areas Marcelo Bielsa has identified as needing strengthening for next seasons promotion push.
Replacements are already being targeted with Helder Costa in Victor Orta’s sights. Costa is a huge talent and was a sprinkling of stardust in the Wolves team that won promotion to the Premier League a couple of years ago but whilst featuring in 25 matches as Wolves finished 7th last year most appearances were from the bench. Costa is reportedly free to move but he’ll be keen to ply his trade in the top tier again with play-off winners Aston Villa also interested, so Orta and Bielsa will need to use all his charm to get this one over the line.
If the £10m can help Victor Orta bring in key players to get us promoted next season it may have been worth it, but it’s a bitter pill to swallow. Good luck in the Premier League Jack, I just wish it had been with Leeds United.
Stats thanks to @LUFCDATA
Jack Clarke’s Spurs move, another promising young talent gone