Sunderland Boss Responds To Jack Clarke Agent Comments

Sunderland manager Michael Beale has responded to comments made by Jack Clarke’s agent Ian Harte regarding the winger’s future.

The 23-year-old has attracted a host of interest across the last two transfer windows. Last season’s Championship winners Burnley failed with multiple bids last summer, the latter of which totalled over £10 million, whereas Italian giants Lazio saw two offers rejected last month.

Clarke is in the midst of his most lucrative season of his young career. He scored his 14th goal of the campaign in a 3-1 win over Plymouth Argyle last weekend and he is currently the Black Cats’ most productive player by some distance.

Comments emerged last night from former Leeds United defender Ian Harte – who represents the Sunderland attacker – saying that a move could be on the cards this summer. Speaking to No Tippy Tappy Footballhe said:

“There was a couple of bids that come in from Lazio, Sunderland didn’t feel like wanted to sell the player in the January window.

“The player has just obviously got to focus on what he’s doing at the moment, which is (playing) fantastically well, scoring goals, getting assists. But hopefully this summer we’ll probably see Jack moving. Where it may be, we don’t know just yet, but he’s in good place.

“Sunderland, it’s a good footballing team. It’s a young group of players with a new manager and yeah, it’s exciting to watch. I think it’s going to be difficult to try and get into the play-offs but we’ll have to wait and see what they can do.

“Last summer Burnley came in and bid to Sunderland to try and take Jack.

“Sunderland didn’t feel the valuation was high enough and they turned it down. So, I think to players, obviously, being an ex-player like myself, you just got to go out and focus on what you’re getting paid to do, go out and perform for the team, which Jack has done. He’s got 14 goals this season, four assists.

“It’s flattering when big Italian teams are coming in and looking at a player like Jack, but the bread and butter is you’ve got to go out and do it week in week out at Sunderland and hopefully he’ll continue to do that.”

Harte’s comments have not come as a surprise to Sunderland boss Michael Beale.

“That’s the first time I’ve heard that,” The 43-year-old said, via the Sunderland Echo.

“Listen, agents have got a job to do and an agent represents Jack. It’s important that he represents Jack in the right way and I’m sure Jack feels he does. Jack has already reiterated that he’s extremely happy here just last week, so this is going to be an ongoing saga I think until the summer.

“At this moment in time the window is, Jack is here, he’s our player, he looks happy to me. Let’s just focus on that. Someone has got to pay the money and it has to be the right club for Jack. At this moment, this is the right club for Jack.

“He’s a fantastic footballer and he loves playing football so I don’t even need to say anything to Jack – whatever he wants to achieve, ideally here, then he has to play well.

“So I’m in a win-win, the boy has to play well. He’s playing well, he loves playing for our club and we do a lot to allow Jack to be Jack in terms of our style and the allowances we make for him defensively so that he can be a matchwinner.

“He’s been absolutely superb and any outside noise is nothing new, he’s had it since he was 17 really. He’s still young but he’s got a lot of experience, he’s had the big move and a couple of loans where it hasn’t gone so well.

“He’s found a home in football so I’d say he’s very content. Nothing can happen between now and the summer, and I’m sure the noise will get louder.”

It is believed that former club Tottenham Hotspur would be due up to 25% of any future fee thanks to a sell-on clause they inserted in the deal which saw him move to the Stadium of Light on a permanent basis in 2022.

Writer’s View

It seems inevitable that Jack Clarke will move on to pastures new this summer. The rumblings have been there for some time now and it appears that the only way that he will remain at Sunderland is for them to achieve promotion to the Premier League.

The Black Cats’ form has been inconsistent and they really need to start picking up some momentum to achieve a second consecutive top six finish. Regardless, the winger is under contract until 2026 so he won’t leave on the cheap, although the player is happy on Wearside and is likely comfortable with the situation.

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