Leeds could be set for a new defensive recruit in the summer, with reports linking the Yorkshire side with a move for Portsmouth defender Matt Clarke.
Clarke has been a stand out performer at Fratton Park this season, starting every league game of Pompey’s promotion push and helping Kenny Jackett’s side to victory in the Checkatrade Trophy final on Sunday.
Those performances have apparently generated a good deal of interest in the corridors of Elland Road, with The Times reporting that the club are planning to target the £4 million-rated man in the summer.
Here, we take a look at the impact that Clarke could have on Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
A new option
Leeds’ centre back pairing of Pontus Jansson and club captain Liam Cooper has been a pretty consistent feature of the Yorkshire side’s back line this season, with Leeds desperate to avoid any injuries or suspensions to the pair where possible.
If Clarke was to come in, you feel there would be less of a concern, with the 22 year old having already proven his reliability and fitness throughout his time at Portsmouth.
Bad news for Berardi
At times when Leeds’ regular back line have needed a replacement due to an unavoidable absence this season, the man to come in has been Gaetano Berardi, who has been limited to nine league appearances this season.
By the season comes around again, the Swiss defender will be just a couple of weeks away from his 31st birthday, and into the season of his Elland Road contract.
You feel that Clarke, who only turns 23 in September will be next in line behind Cooper and Jansson should he arrive with development, and if he proves himself, it could become very difficult for Berardi to regain his place or extend his stay at Elland Road.
Were Clarke to make the move to Yorkshire, it would surely be seen as Leeds further strengthening their squad.
Regardless of which division they find themselves in next season, a stronger squad will see many expecting even more from Leeds than they already do: survival would already be a minimum in the Premier League next season, promotion the same in the Championship, this would only add to that expectation.