Having been one of the rising talents of Leeds United’s academy, it no doubt would have hurt the club’s fans to see Jack Clarke being prised away by Tottenham.
Reports back in the summer of 2019 claimed that Spurs paid a £10m fee to Leeds to sign Clarke, with further payments scheduled based on whether certain conditions are met.
Sadly for both the north Londoners and more so the player himself, things just haven’t quite panned out for him, with Transfermarkt now citing his value at less than half of that amount at just £4.5m.
That’s a real indication of just how much of a step backwards his career has taken since Spurs signed him, with the now 21-year-old having made just four senior appearances for the Lilywhites.
Having been unable to break into the senior setup at Spurs, Clarke was shipped out on loan to QPR, who were keen to see him rediscover his potential and help him find his form.
The club’s director of football Les Ferdinand said: “You can see that Jack is quality as we played against him last year when he was at Leeds. He’s a young boy but he has undoubtable talent and I think once he goes back they’ll probably look at him through pre-season, see how he does and then make a judgement on whether it’s another loan or (Jose Mourinho) may see a benefit to the Tottenham team now and the way he wants to play.”
However, Clarke would play just seven times for QPR before returning to Spurs, and it’s safe to say that things haven’t kicked on from then.
Along with spell with the Hoops, Clarke also spent time out on loan at fellow Championship outfit Stoke, and in January he moved to League One side Sunderland.
While he has featured more regularly for the Wearside club – he has played 13 consecutive times in the third tier – he has scored just one goal and provided one assist.
It was no surprise that Sunderland boss Alex Neil admitted that the versatile midfielder’s end product has let him down in his short spell with the club thus far, saying: “He can take people on one-for-one, which is obviously a good strength to have, and he’s been a threat for us. He’s missed a few key chances, and I think that’s the next stage for him. He just needs to be that bit more clinical in front of goal.
“I think there’s been a few games recently – Lincoln, in particular, is one that sticks in the mind – where he had a golden opportunity, and they’re the moments we’ve got to capitalise on. But, in the main, I think his appetite for the work that he needs to do and his willingness to be a threat for us and take us up the pitch, he’s done well.”
For Clarke’s sake, a good end to the season would do him the world of good and help him to find his groove again, but in Leeds’ case, they played an absolute blinder by letting go of the £25k-a-week earner for an eight-figure fee three years ago.