According to The Athletic, young Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Jack Clarke is considered “a young man armed with vast potential.” Thus far, that potential hasn’t really manifested itself, either at Spurs or on loan, but considering he’s only 20 that’s completely forgivable.
That also hasn’t stopped other teams from being interested in taking him on loan for the 2021-22 season. The Athletic (£) writes that Clarke is a target for Nottingham Forest manager Chris Hughton, who is keen to bring him on loan next season. Hughton, a former Tottenham player, caretaker manager, and Friend of the Club™, has said that he needs to increase the club’s offensive threat, and thinks that Clarke could be one player who could help with that.
Clarke was purchased two seasons ago from Leeds United, where he was considered one of the brightest talents in the academy. He was immediately loaned back to Leeds for that season, only to see himself stuck on the bench, the sixth loanee in a Championship team that could only field five. He was recalled and then sent back out on loan at QPR for the second half of that season, only to see that campaign interrupted by COVID. He rarely played for Rangers either.
Clarke spent this Spring on loan in the Championship with Stoke City and while he hasn’t exactly set the world on fire — no goals and two assists in 583 minutes of action — he’s at least gotten some decent minutes. His loan was cut short at the beginning of April when he suffered ligament damage and he has since returned to Spurs to recover.
All that’s to say that Clarke has had some stupendously bad luck thus far in his young career, but if he’s wanted by Hughton and Forest, that’s a good thing. The Athletic states that Hughton desires Clarke for his “searing out-and-out pace and desire to run at people” (despite a stats radar that makes him look more like a defensive winger this season). Hughton has a long, friendly history with Tottenham, so it’s certainly not out of the question that the club would do him a solid by loaning him a young attacking midfielder with break-out potential, and it sure sounds like he would use Clarke to actually run at defenders, should he end up there.
The issue for Spurs is that next year really may be a make-or-break season for Clarke — his contract goes until the end of 2022-23, and he’s at the point where he’s going to need to start realizing his potential or Spurs may think about cutting bait on him. But one only has to look at Oliver Skipp to know what a solid season in the Championship can do to a young Tottenham players’ future prospects. Clarke clearly has bags of talent or a guy like Hughton wouldn’t be so happy to get his hands on him for a year. We’re a long way from that becoming a reality — the window doesn’t even open for a couple months — but this is the kind of rumor I can get behind.