Lazio initiated contact with Sunderland yesterday to try and land a deal for the winger, but it has been rejected. The fee offered was around £13.6 million, which is a long way off the valuation of £25 million that Romano has reported that Sunderland want.
Tottenham Hotspur sold the player back in 2021 for a fee of £750,000, but they are set to net a significant amount of any future transfer fee due to a 25% sell-on clause in the contract. Clarke has featured 29 times in the second tier this season, scoring 13 goals and delivering a further three assists.
Michael Beale’s side consider the player not for sale within this window, and remain adamant on their stance until the deadline next week. West Ham have also shown an interest in obtaining Clarke’s services this window, but they are also set to miss out.
It would have been a blow for the Black Cats to lose another key player so late in the window, with Alex Pritchard informing the club he was unavailable for selection yesterday as he tries to force a move. The midfielder is subject to interest from his former manager Tony Mowbray at Birmingham City.
Sunderland sit seventh in the table, and are currently tied with Coventry City on points having eased to victory against Stoke City on Saturday. They’ll be wanting to keep a hold of Clarke this January to give themselves the best chance of making the play-offs.
Lazio are currently sixth in the Serie A table, three points behind a Champions League spot with a game in hand over Atalanta in fourth. The Italian giants boast players like Pedro Rodriguez and Felipe Anderson, as well as veteran striker Ciro Immobile, and will be striving to push themselves into one of the Champions League spots.
The Black Cats face Middlesbrough at the Stadium of Light next week, and the feeling now is that the 23-year-old forward will be part of the squad to face Michael Carrick’s men. The Italian side are yet to make another approach for Clarke after last night’s offer was rejected, and it’s not currently known whether they intend to return.
It would have been a special move for Clarke to make considering the size and stature of a club like Lazio, but Sunderland will feel they are well entitled to keep hold of him considering the fact they could still sneak promotion this season.
£25 million will be a fee that many Premier League clubs will take note of for the summer, and Mauricio Sarri’s side may never get a better chance to sign the player than right now.