What Jack Clarke and key Sunderland figures have said about player’s future amid Burnley transfer interest
What has been said about Jack Clarke’s future in recent months amid transfer interest from Premier League side Burnley.
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Premier League side Burnley remain interested in Sunderland winger Jack Clarke - but how likely is a move this summer?
It’s understood The Clarets have returned with a fourth bid in excess of £10 million for the 22-year-old, yet the figure remains short of Sunderland’s valuation.
Clarke still has three years left on his contract at Sunderland, after joining the club from Tottenham on a permanent transfer last summer.
Spurs would also receive a significant sell-on fee for the player, who scored 11 goals and provided 14 assists in all competitions last season.
Yet according to Sky Sports reporter Keith Downie, Clarke is aware of big interest from Burnley and is keen to play in the Premier League.
Here is what has been said about Clarke’s situation in recent months:
Ian Harte (Clarke’s agent)
Former Leeds defender Ian Harte has worked with Clarke since the winger came through the ranks at Elland Road.
He recently went on record to say how much the player has enjoyed life at Sunderland but didn’t rule out a move this summer.
“He plays golf with Ross Stewart and Patrick Roberts and there’s a real bond there. It’s a good time to be at Sunderland and I think all the Sunderland fans are in the best spirits they’ve been in a long time.
“Jack loves it at Sunderland and he’s got three years left. Of course I can’t control what other clubs are going to do. If other clubs contact Sunderland that’s unfortunately out of my control.
“I think every player, no matter what league you’re in, has a price and no matter what club you’re at if a club is happy with it they’ll take it.”
“But top and bottom of it, I love going [to Sunderland]. I live locally and I also look after Niall Huggins who will hopefully kick on and have a really positive season next year and play games. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
Clarke has also expressed his gratitude towards Sunderland after a big-money move from Leeds to Tottenham in 2019 didn’t work out.
Following the Black Cats’ 3-0 win over Preston in May, Clarke told the Echo:"I’m just thankful to the manager for picking me and having faith in me, and for the club for bringing me here and giving me an opportunity to play and show what I can do.
“I’m very grateful to the manager and the club for putting so much faith in me."
When asked how he reflects on his time at Tottenham, the winger replied: “I only really think about where I’m playing my football at the minute.
“Tottenham is not really in my mind anymore to be honest. I went there, I tried it and it obviously didn’t work out for whatever reason.
“Now I’m fully focused on being here.”
As the club’s head coach, Tony Mowbray isn’t directly involved in Sunderland’s transfer negotiations but has spoken with Clarke about the winger’s situation.
Clarke has now featured in three of Sunderland’s pre-season friendlies this summer, while he was a standout performer during the side’s 4-2 win over North Carolina.
He also scored twice in the Black Cats’ 4-3 win over South Shields, when Mowbray was asked about this summer’s transfer interest.
The Sunderland boss replied: "My conversation with him - and again, I don’t get overly involved with what goes on behind the scenes. He said to me he loves playing here, he’s in no rush to leave but if that’s what pans out, he’s a footballer, if he moves he moves.
"He’s not stamping his feet or being petulant or creating a problem in training. He’s working hard and enjoys his football."
When discussing Clarke’s ability, Mowbray also said: "The talent is obviously there. When you look on a football pitch that has a lot of young players on it, it’s the Patrick Roberts’ and Jack Clarke’s that just make a difference in football matches. We need individual talent. Last year we had Amad to help with that.
"As we did with the team last year, we kept the team pretty solid, were brave in possession and got it to the front players, who could damage the opposition. Jack Clarke can obviously do that in this division.
"I think 11 goals and 13 assists last year, it’s a real improvement for him and the test for us would be to get more from him this year.”
Sunderland are also not in a position where they have to sell Clarke, or any of their best players, this summer.
The Black Cats’ sporting director Kristjaan Speakman recently told The Athletic: "We have to be clear here: the model is to create a team that can get promoted.
“The by-product of that is having good players and, if you don’t get promoted, some players will go past you. They are Premier League-ready and the team won’t be. Likewise, if you progress, there’ll be players who won’t keep pace.
“In terms of our squad composition, we want to be in a position where other clubs think our players would be assets for them.
"That would put Sunderland in a strong position. In terms of how robust we can be in retaining players, if the question is: ‘are we going let players leave on the cheap?’, the answer is no.”