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Sunderland in talks with Spurs for Jack Clarke on permanent deal

This feels appropriate, unfortunately.

Sheffield Wednesday v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Play-Off Semi Final 2nd Leg Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Jack Clarke was an expensive lottery ticket for Tottenham Hotspur, a very promising youngster signed from Leeds United in 2019 that they hoped would develop into one of the next generation of Spurs first team players. It hasn’t turned out that way. Clarke has fizzled out at Spurs, but had a productive loan at League One Sunderland in the second half of last season after a less successful one up a division at Stoke.

Now, according to a regional sports journalist, Sunderland might be working on a deal with Tottenham to sign him permanently.

When you spend £10m to sign a young kid, you kind of hope he’s going to provide a return on your investment. Unfortunately, that’s just not what happened with Clarke. He has the ignominy of being the first player Tottenham Hotspur signed after the Fallow Year in 2019. He didn’t make his first team debut until a Europa league match against LASK in 2020, and never once played in the Premier League with Spurs. Along the way he was initially loaned back to Leeds (where he barely played), was loaned again to QPR (where he barely played), before his loans to Stoke and Sunderland last season.

It’s sad when young players don’t realize their potential at the highest levels of the game, and even sadder when clubs like Spurs spend big to land one who then fizzles out. But that doesn’t mean that Clarke can’t be a very good professional — he’s still only 21 years old. It looks like League One is probably his level, and that’s better than 90% of footballers in England.

Not a done deal yet, but it does seem to be the time to consider cutting bait on Clarke, even though it’s unlikely Spurs will get anything even remotely close to their money back. But hey, maybe they can slip in a sell-on clause. Regardless, if this deal does go through I wish him the best.