Sunderland manager Tony Mowbray has revealed that winger Jack Clarke remained calm throughout the summer following intense interest from Premier League outfit Burnley.
The 22-year-old was subject to several bids during the recent transfer window from the Clarets, with the Lancashire side rumoured to have put a final offer of over £10 million on the table. However, Sunderland valued their star at £15 million and it was claimed that Clarke had become frustrated at the Black Cats’ reluctance to negotiate his exit.
The former Tottenham Hotspur youngster headed to the Stadium of Light on a permanent deal in the summer of 2022 and became one of the standout performers at the club as Sunderland reached the play-offs in their first season back in the Championship. He hit nine league goals last season but is well on his way to bettering that tally with five goals in seven games this term.
Speaking to the media – via Sunderland Echo – ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Cardiff City, Mowbray revealed that Clarke remained committed to the cause after Burnley’s interest, and that he was happy to remain on Wearside;
“He told me that if the move happens it happens, he’ll take it in his stride. If it doesn’t happen he’s going to be happy at this football club.
“He said that to me so I didn’t have any fears. He wasn’t banging on my door saying ‘gaffer I want to go, what’s going on?’ He wasn’t doing that.
“He was saying if it happens it happens, if it doesn’t happen I’ll give you everything I’ve got which was good to hear and he’s continued to do that.”
The former Celtic boss then went on to praise the attacker for his excellent start to the campaign;
“Jack Clarke, I’m pleased with his goals return so far. I did question before the season started with the loss of Amad whether Jack could continue on the vein of last year with the goals and assists. It looks like he’s going to do that.
“Like I said about the team, him as an individual needs to keep his feet firmly rooted on the ground, keep working hard and trying to do what he’s been doing.”
Clarke’s form has likely caught the attention of teams in the Premier League, but Sunderland hold the upper hand, with three years still remaining on his current contract.
After a quiet start to the season, Sunderland have emerged as one of the form teams in the Championship with four wins from their last five. Jack Clarke has been pivotal to the change of fortunes with his five goals and has taken on the mantle from last season’s loan star Amad Diallo.
He looks to be a player destined to play in the top flight, but Mowbray will be hoping that they can better last season’s play-off run by reaching the Premier League for the first time since 2017. In doing so, they would stand a much better chance of keeping hold of the winger next season.