This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
At first glance it all made sense.
Tottenham would be buying an exciting young talent for a relatively modest fee of around £10m, and loaning him back to where he is comfortable and familiar with his surroundings.
The player in question is Jack Clarke. The 18-year-old moved to the north Londoners in the summer before rejoining Leeds on loan, with Spurs presumably hoping to see their new signing get the game time they probably wouldn’t be able to afford to give him.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side embarked on a busy summer transfer window and ended up with six players on loan after the deadline, including Arsenal star Eddie Nketiah.
You may be wondering what the significance of this is. Well, Championship regulations state that a maximum of five loanees can be included in a matchday squad, meaning in this instance, Leeds cannot include all of their loan signings.
Intriguingly, Clarke has been the man to miss out so far. He is yet to make a league appearance this season and was left out of Bielsa’s 18-man squad entirely for the win against Wigan last time out.
The Leeds academy graduate instead played for the Under-23 side, playing an impressive pass in the build up to a goal.
Wonderful play from Tottenham Hotspur loanee Jack Clarke, as the attacker goes on a driving run and plays a defence-splitting pass for Leeds United’s U23’s second goal of the game.
— Last Word On Spurs? (@LastWordOnSpurs) August 19, 2019
However, that is besides the point.
Where’s the benefit in having Clarke play reserve football out on loan when he could be doing the exact same at Tottenham?
Instead of running around for Leeds’ Under-23 side, the 18-year-old would be much better placed playing and getting to know some new faces in Spurs’ Under-23 ranks instead, where he can acclimatise to his new surroundings and perhaps even train with the first-team while receiving expert tutoring from Mauricio Pochettino.
If Clarke was gaining invaluable first-team experience in the Championship, leave him be. But he isn’t.
He is Tottenham’s player, extremely young, and has bags of unfulfilled potential – he might as well be spending time at his new club rather than wasting time out of favour under Bielsa.