Alasdair Gold has revealed that Jack Clarke’s career is at the ‘crossroads’, with Tottenham having to decide whether or not to offer the winger a new deal, while adding that he had some of the best fitness levels in the Spurs squad.
Clarke has failed to live up to his billing since his £10m move (The Sun) from Leeds United in 2019 but the youngster has shown glimpses of his quality during his last two loan spells at Stoke City and Sunderland.
Although the 21-year-old did not get off to the best of starts at the Stadium of Light following his loan move in January, he had a strong finish to the season.
In fact, the Spurs youngster was the star of the show for the Black Cats in their Playoff Semi-final win against Sheffield Wednesday.
He started on the bench in the Playoff Final and replaced Elliot Embleton just past the hour mark as Alex Neil’s side emerged 2-0 winners over Wycombe Wanderers to seal promotion to the Championship.
With Clarke coming into the final year of his contract at Spurs, Gold has said that the North London club either have to offer him a new deal this summer or sell him permanently.
When asked about the former Leeds man’s future, the journalist told Chronicle Live: “I think it’s a crossroads summer for Clarke with his contract.
“Either the club extend his deal and send him back out on loan again after giving him a chance in pre-season to impress Conte or they look for someone to take him permanently.
“He did well at Sunderland and his stock will have risen, particularly with that eye-catching crucial semi-final second leg assist.
“Spurs often insert extra year options into young players’ contracts to give them a bit more security so it may well be that Clarke has one of those as well.
“If he does sign a new deal then it’s more likely that Spurs are ensuring they get a healthy fee if he impresses again on loan.
“At just 21, there’s still plenty of time for the young winger to salvage his Tottenham career but the sheer volume of players in front of him continue to make that difficult.”
When asked if a return to Sunderland next season was a possibility for Clarke, Gold responded: “I think that move would make the most sense if Sunderland want him back again next season as it gets him back to Championship football and at a club where he’s really developed.
“Ultimately all three parties have to agree and there is likely to be further interest from others in the young winger, but for him, I’d think continuing his journey with the Black Cats would be the perfect move at this point in his career.”
On his general impressions of Clarke, Gold added: “That he’s an enthusiastic, forward-thinking young player with some of the best fitness levels within the Tottenham squad. Jose Mourinho was really impressed with that aspect of his game when he was at the club.
“The problem is that his opportunities to play have been few and far between for Spurs because of the strength on the squad on the flanks and when those few chances have come at Tottenham he hasn’t exactly blown everyone away.
“Admittedly that’s tough to do when you’re not getting much rhythm to your game.
“The pattern for the past two seasons has been impressing in the U23s, including playing up front for them this season, and then earning a loan move in the second half of the campaign and he’s done well in both of those at Sunderland and Stoke, after two tough loans in his first season at Leeds and QPR.”
Spurs Web Opinion
Given that Clarke has shown some promise at Stoke and Sunderland, I suspect Spurs will want to extend his contract and loan him out in the hope that the winger can increase his market value.
He certainly looks good enough for the Championship, although it appears unlikely that Spurs are going to be able to recoup anywhere close to the £10m they paid for him.
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