It was all supposed to work out differently. Tottenham Hotspur’s young winger Jack Clarke, one of four players signed this summer, was supposed to send the year out on loan at his old club, Leeds United, in order to further season himself and gain valuable first team experience before slotting into the first team back at Spurs. But that didn’t happen.
Instead, Clarke inexplicably found himself on the outside of Leeds looking in, after manager Marcelo Bielsa signed five additional players on loan this season. The Championship’s rules state that you can only name five loan players in a match day squad. Since Bielsa has favored the other five, Clarke has spent much of the season playing with Leeds’ U23s.
Thankfully, it looks like that situation may be ending. Phil Hay, a noted midlands journalist who is now writing for the Athletic (£), reports that Clarke looks very likely to be returning to Spurs in January.
The Athletic understands that barring a significant change in attitudes over the next four weeks, Clarke will go back to Spurs in January. He has played 19 minutes in the Championship since joining in the summer and being immediately loaned back for the season, away at Luton Town on Saturday. Despite Clarke being told by Bielsa that he is training at a high enough level to appear more regularly, Nketiah’s recovery from injury leaves Bielsa with more loanees than he can cram into a match day squad. Clarke, according to sources, is keen to discover where he fits in under new Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho.
— Phil Hay, The Athletic
Clarke, an attacking midfielder, was never expected to be a contributor to Tottenham’s first team this season. He’s young and raw, with a lot of potential, but it seems unlikely that he’d jump into the mix to get even rotation minutes this season considering the other players at Spurs’ disposal. But he’s certainly not getting the experience that was expected at Leeds, so this is probably about the best possible development for him.
I have no idea what Jose Mourinho will do with Clarke. He could potentially head back out on loan to a Championship club that will actually play him, or he might just stay at Spurs and train here instead of training at Leeds. Another loan would potentially be a better option if Mourinho decides he’s not part of Spurs plans this season. But it starts with him getting the heck out of a dumb situation at Leeds, and it sounds like that’s the plan for now.