MOT View: Clarke exit painful but necessary
So, it looks like Jack Clarke is going to leave Leeds before fulfilling his potential.
These details help soften the blow but there’s been no indication that Pochettino will consider loaning Clarke out next season. Knowing Poch, he’ll want to watch and develop Clarke himself, and it will be fascinating to see if Clarke is integrated with the senior Spurs players in pre-season.
Perversely, the best we can hope for is that Clarke doesn’t hit the ground running and that Pochettino decides he might be better off back with Bielsa. That’s a long shot we think almost equivalent to Boris Johnson’s odds on a no-deal Brexit (one million to one at his last count).
The sell-on clause is much more valuable to us – in the long-term.
In the short term, Clarke’s exit will be painful. He might have faded towards the end of the season, after the mystery illness struck him down in the game against Middlesbrough, but he started so bright he was impossible to ignore.
Who can forget his assist for the winner against Sheffield United? Or the first goal when we were 2-0 down at Villa Park?
Certainly not Pochettino, who saw enough to want to make him his first signing since January 2018.
But there are facts in football. Clarke only started four games in the Championship last season. And we only lost one game in the first 11 before he made his debut. After his first goal and assist he only added one more of each.
He’s not an indispensable player like Kalvin Phillips, and how many other players do we have that would fetch £10m?
Clarke might develop into a world star. And if he does, and Tottenham sell him, we’ll make another chunk of money. But the only thing that matters at the moment is getting out of the Championship. To do that we need money to strengthen and Clarke is a luxury that, unfortunately, we can’t afford.
We’ve slapped a £30m price tag on Kalvin Phillips, which has reportedly frustrated Aston Villa. That’s good. They frustrated Tottenham by refusing to sell their star player last summer and they’re now in the Premier League.
Phillips is integral to the Bielsa system and can push us to promotion this season. Clarke will also help in our quest for Premier League football – with the money we need to bring in players like Helder Costa. The move to Tottenham is good business.