Sunderland are set for a huge transfer battle this month with up to six Premier League clubs considering launching a bid for Jack Clarke, according to the Northern Echo.
Interest in the winger is beginning to heat up and it was reported yesterday that West Ham United were weighing up a bid. The Black Cats are desperate to retain the services of the 23-year-old as they target a Championship play-off place for the second successive season.
The Wearside outfit made the decision to part company with manager Tony Mowbray at the beginning of last month after slipping to ninth in the table. The appointment of Michael Beale has seen them rise back into the top six, although the division remains extremely tight.
Keeping hold of a player of Clarke’s calibre will be seen as pivotal to their promotion push, but they could be set for a battle with the number of clubs in the hunt.
It is claimed that Bournemouth, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Everton and Wolverhampton Wanderers are set to join the Hammers in the race for his signature. However, the Evening Standard adds further names to the ever-growing list by stating Brentford are also in the hunt, as well as Championship duo Leicester City and Southampton.
Both are looking for an immediate return to the Premier League, with the Foxes currently sitting 10 points clear at the top of the league. With Ipswich Town faltering in recent weeks, Southampton have closed the gap on the automatic promotion places to just three points and are looking good value to replace the Tractor Boys in second.
Clarke has been Sunderland’s standout performer so far this season, bagging a career-high 12 goals. He is currently under contract until 2026 having signed from Tottenham Hotspur in 2022 following a successful loan spell at the Stadium of Light.
Previous reports from last year claim that Spurs could be due up to 50% of any potential future sale, making the decision to reject Burnley’s advances last summer understandable. The Clarets saw three bids rejected which eventually totalled up to £10 million plus add-ons.
Clarke will remain relaxed about the situation and is said to be happy with life in the North East. A move to the top tier seems inevitable and Sunderland could be in for a major scrap to keep hold of him this month.
All this scenario will take is for one of the interested parties to show their hand and we are likely to see a snowball effect, where several clubs table offers. Michael Beale will have February 1st circled on his calendar, where he will be hoping Clarke will still remain at the Stadium of Light.