One week into December, Tottenham Hotspur let their lead slip on house soil at hand West Ham United victory within the Premier League; it was Ange Postecoglou’s facet’s fourth defeat in 5 matches.
A number of months again, the 2022/23 season whirred into life and Postecoglou’s venture took off with unfettered fluency, eight victories and two attracts putting Spurs on the high of the desk and pleasingly forward of schedule within the early days of a brand new period.
The ebb and movement of outcomes and efficiency this season will not be new on the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium however the large distinction is the singular imaginative and prescient underneath Postecoglou’s administration, every acquisition made within the switch market offering a lift to the general energy of the squad.
That is to not say that many current gamers had been less than commonplace, with the likes of Cristian Romero, Dejan Kulusevski and Heung-min Son revived after final yr’s wrestle.
A lot deadwood has been moved on however one sale earlier than Postecoglou’s arrival in Jack Clarke is likely to be seen with a sure ruefulness, with the Sunderland winger definitely able to incomes reward down the N17.
Why Tottenham signed Jack Clarke
Means again in 2019, Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham accomplished the signing of teenage prospect Clarke for round £10m, becoming a member of from Leeds United and remaining at Elland Street on mortgage for the 2019/20 time period.
Solely 18 years outdated, Clarke had made his Whites debut underneath Marcelo Bielsa in 2018 and impressed with some precocious shows, posting two objectives and two assists apiece throughout simply 4 beginning appearances within the Championship.
Pundit Noel Whelan had definitely observed the teenager’s expertise, waxing over his traits and saying: “He has received a fantastic capacity to glide previous gamers. I don’t assume I’ve seen a winger actually as proficient as that, the place it seems to be easy, simply to take any individual on and he actually does get you on the sting of your seat, he’s a kind of thrilling gamers.
“He’s solely going to get higher however as soon as once more a participant we will solely get pleasure from if we go into the Premier League as a result of there’s groups sniffing round him.”
It definitely wasn’t a mistake for Tottenham to make their transfer for Clarke, blessed with many enticing pure qualities and exhibiting indicators of productiveness by way of each his direct menace and playmaking.
However Clarke’s signing was simply certainly one of many youth prospects making the bounce to a crew on the forefront of English soccer too quickly; would possibly he have been higher positioned in a steady atmosphere for a couple of extra years, as a substitute of itinerantly leaping from mortgage stint to mortgage stint?
Antonio Conte seems to have made a mistake in permitting Clarke to float away in 2022, with the huge man now shining and proving his price as a winger studded with pure expertise and self-belief.
As soon as praised for his “undoubtable expertise” by QPR’s former director of soccer Les Ferdinand, throughout certainly one of his a number of mortgage spells whereas on Tottenham’s books, Clarke solely made 4 senior appearances for Spurs earlier than finishing a remaining mortgage transfer to Sunderland halfway by way of the 2021/22 marketing campaign, impressing in the course of the Black Cats’ promotion push in League One and incomes a everlasting switch the next summer season.
Jack Clarke’s Sunderland profession
Now aged 23, Clarke has discovered his ft on the Stadium of Mild and cemented a starring spot in a facet pushing for a return to the Premier League.
Final season, his first full yr in Tyne and Put on, the 23-year-old scored 11 objectives and offered 14 assists throughout 50 appearances in all competitions as Sunderland reached the play-off semi-finals, shedding to Luton City.
As per FBref, the 6 foot 1 attacker ranks among the many high 15% of attacking midfielders and wingers throughout Europe’s high 5 leagues over the previous yr for shot-creating actions and tackles, the highest 1% for progressive carries, the highest 5% for profitable take-ons and the highest 2% for touches within the attacking field per 90.
Such metrics converse of blistering tempo and a wily and progressive capacity that permits him to surge into promising positions down the left flank and unleash his creativity.
As per Sofascore, Clarke has been in unimaginable kind this time period and at the moment stands with 13 objectives and 4 assists within the second tier, averaging 2.5 key passes, 1.7 tackles, 4.6 ball recoveries, 3.7 dribbles and eight.2 profitable duels per sport.
It is a gorgeous stage of efficiency and one that means he’s prepared for a second shot on the large time; certainly, West Ham and Serie A facet Lazio had pushed for a switch in January however had been rebuffed.
Destined for the highest, Clarke would possibly truly be acting at the next commonplace than Tottenham winger Brennan Johnson, who signed for the membership from Nottingham Forest in a £47.5m package deal final summer season.
Higher than Brennan Johnson
Johnson has solely clinched two objectives and 4 assists throughout 19 outings for Spurs to this point however was essential to the Difficult Bushes’ Premier League survival final season and scored ten instances.
In fact, Clarke at the moment plies his commerce beneath England’s top-flight and Johnson hardly struggled throughout his final season within the Championship, scoring 16 objectives and supplying 9 assists as Nottingham Forest secured promotion, however the Sunderland star is demonstrating newfound maturity and, theoretically, if he might switch his kind to Tottenham proper now he could be poised for achievement.
Brennan Johnson: Key Traits
Whereas Johnson is a crisp dribbler and has been lauded for his “scary” velocity by compatriot Joe Allen, there is a case that Clarke gives all Johnson, aged 22, does and extra.
Averaging simply 0.7 dribbles, 1.1 key passes and a pair of.8 key passes per sport within the high flight highlights this level.
Johnson is younger and can hopefully proceed to take strides underneath Postecoglou’s wing, however had Spurs managed Clarke’s time on the membership higher then there may be each risk that a big sum might have been saved on Johnson and a really dynamic and efficient phenom might now be coming into their very own within the capital.