This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Darren Bent insists he was surprised by Tottenham Hotspur’s decision to loan young winger Jack Clarke back to Leeds United immediately after signing him, per Football Insider.
Spurs have already secured two signings in this transfer window, with Tanguy Ndombele joining in a club-record deal on the same day as Clarke’s acquisition.
Reports state that Spurs paid around £10m to sign the winger from Leeds but he will not be a part of Mauricio Pochettino’s squad in the 2019/20 season.
Instead, he will continue to work under Marcelo Bielsa at Elland Road, despite making just four starts in the Championship last season.
And Bent, who played for Spurs between 2007 and 2009, is surprised by the tactic.
He said: “I think it is a really exciting signing Jack Clarke, he really impressed me for Leeds, he was brilliant. I thought it was only a matter of time before somebody came and got him.
“He’s at the right club for him. I mean I’m slightly surprised that a club like Spurs – they got to the Champions League final without signing a single player – so it seems funny that they signed someone and sent him back to Leeds, it’s a bit of a crazy one.
Time will tell, I mean I’m all for that but maybe not in Spurs’ situation because Spurs need players. You saw how thin their squad was last season when they lost Harry Kane, Dele Alli was out for a little bit.
“They were thin, they were quite light so you’d think buying someone like a Jack Clarke, you’d want to get him ready now unless they’re planning on signing someone else.”
Bent is completely right.
Spurs’ squad was stretched to its limit throughout the 2018/19 season, to the point where even Vincent Janssen was given three Premier League appearances due to an injury sustained by Kane.
Bringing Clarke in would have added some depth on the flanks and, while he may not have played all that often, he could have become a useful option off the bench.
As it is, Spurs have effectively only bought one player in this window – Ndombele – and he is a central midfielder.
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The load has not been lightened on the club’s attackers and keeping Clarke around could have done that.
As it is, he’s not likely to pull on a Spurs shirt until 2020; it feels out-of-keeping with the club’s usual approach when it comes to bedding in youngsters.
The likes of Oliver Skipp and Kyle Walker-Peters, for example, have all been kept around the first-team, and both have the ability to fill in when required.
Clarke could have done the same thing. Bent, then, isn’t the only one surprised.