“I watched him at Leeds United” – Tony Pulis makes Jack Clarke claim as clubs eye Sunderland star

Tony Pulis believes Clarke’s improvement is down to him maturing and getting physically stronger over the last few years.

Sunderland has Jack Clarke to thank for plenty of their recent success, with the player developing rapidly at the Stadium of Light over the last few seasons.

Two seasons ago now, the Black Cats won promotion back to the Championship and also secured a playoff spot last year thanks in large part to Clarke – a key player and catalyst in their rapid rise, who scored nine goals and claimed a further 12 assists in Championship and play-off matches last season.

Plenty of moving parts make a good promotion team, but Clarke has been a key cog in Sunderland flying up the table so rapidly and has taken huge strides forward in his personal development in the process, which has continued this term as well, only fuelling further speculation regarding his future.

Although Sunderland’s season has fizzled out, his 15 goals and four assists are sure to have caught the eye even further ahead of the summer. According to Football Insider, the Black Cats believe it will be extremely difficult to hold onto the 23-year-old beyond the current campaign.

The Sunderland star is attracting interest from several top-flight clubs, including the likes of West Ham United and Brentford.

Jack Clarke’s career stats – as per Transfermarkt 23/04/2024*
Club Appearances Goals Assists
Leeds United 28 2 2
Tottenham Hotspur 4 0 0
QPR (loan) 7 0 0
Stoke City (loan) 14 0 2
Sunderland* 110 27 22

Tony Pulis’ Jack Clarke claim

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One manager with plenty of EFL experience is Tony Pulis, who believes Clarke’s improvement is down to him maturing and getting physically stronger over the last few seasons.

Pulsi said, via OLBG: “In a football team, there are certain things that you need to have to be successful.

“One of those things is a player that will take defenders on because defenses are so well organized, so you need someone to create space and open doors. Jack Clarke is one of those players.

“I watched him at Leeds United and I think he’s now more mature and is a lot stronger. He’ll have a very good future but I don’t know if Sunderland will want to sell him to a Premier League team this summer.

“I don’t see why he can’t play in the Premier League as he’s a promising and exciting player.”

Jack Clarke’s Sunderland future

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It’s fair to say that Clarke is likely to be playing top-flight football next season, with Sunderland confirmed as a Championship club for the 2024/25 campaign.

Clarke leaving for a large sum could have a net positive impact, should the club operate smartly within the market by signing other Clarke-like players who have time on their side to develop with Sunderland.

Acquiring younger players with resale value and plenty of potential to flip them on for more money than they were initially signed for, and reinvest that into the playing squad is perhaps the best way to go for the Black Cats.

Clarke will no doubt be a success with the right club next year, though. Sunderland fans will certainly be sad to see him go, but the outlook for next season could still be an optimistic one.

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