Sunderland winger Jack Clarke remains happy at the Stadium of Light but does wish to play at a higher level, according to the Sunderland Echo.
The 23-year-old has become a wanted man and was the subject of several bids from Premier League outfit Burnley last summer. The Black Cats held firm in their stance that their talisman was not for sale, although were braced for heightened interest this month.
Clarke has produced his most prolific form to date so far this season, scoring 13 goals and providing three assists in 29 Championship games. This has attracted the attention of a host of clubs, with Brentford, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Everton, West Ham United and Wolverhampton Wanderers all keeping tabs on the situation.
It is Italian giants Lazio who have emerged from the pack though and they saw their initial £15 million offer rejected last week. However, the Serie A club have reportedly returned with a second offer as they look to bring in a winger before the transfer window closes later this week.
They do have alternative options and reports emerged last night that they were also considering an approach for Norwich City’s Jon Rowe, whilst Fabrizio Romano revealed that Plymouth Argyle’s Morgan Whittaker is also a target.
It’s Clarke who I Biancocelesti have placed at the top of their list though, and their improved second offer – the value of which is currently unknown – show that they are not prepared to give up their chase just yet.
The Wearsiders do hold the upper hand though, with the Sunderland Echo reiterating that the attacker remains happy at the club. However, he continues to harbour ambitions of playing at a higher level.
The ex-England under-20 international is under contract until 2026, meaning Sunderland will push for every penny they can get. They will also be factoring in Spurs’ 25% sell-on clause which was inserted into the deal that saw the player move to the North East on a permanent basis in 2022.
Saturday’s 3-1 win over Stoke City saw Michael Beale’s team move back up to seventh in the race to secure a play-off place. Coventry City currently occupy that all-important sixth spot on goal difference only, although have played a game less. Hull City sit a point further back in eighth and also have an additional fixture to play.
It is likely that Jack Clarke will remain at Sunderland – at least for the time being. Every player has their price, and the Black Cats would surely consider anything above the £20 million mark. However, the winger is pivotal to their own promotion hopes and they are unlikely to sanction a move this month.
That may change in the summer should they fail to gain promotion to the Premier League, and they can be happy with their stance due to the fact that Clarke is willing to remain for the time being. This is one that will rumble on over the coming days though.