This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Stoke City are reportedly interested in re-signing Jack Clarke on loan in the 2021/22 season according to a recent report from Football Insider.
Clarke has had his loan spell with the Potters cut short recently after picking up an injury blow, which will rule him out of action for the remainder of this year’s campaign.
He made 14 appearances for Michael O’Neill’s side in total, as they sit 11th in the Championship table with six matches remaining in their 2020/21 season.
Clarke confirmed that he had returned to Tottenham Hotspur after this injury blow, but it appears as though Stoke are keen to re-sign him ahead of next year’s campaign.
It remains to be seen as to whether Spurs are willing to send Clarke out on loan again, but he’s clearly made a good impression with Stoke City this term.
But would Clarke be a good addition to the Stoke City squad next season if they signed him on loan again?
I think this looks like a sensible move for all parties.
Over the past month or so, Clarke’s looked more settled at Stoke and produced some impressive displays – so it’s a real shame to see his season end due to injury.
Michael O’Neill seemed to have found how to get him going, so it’s no surprise that the Potters are keen to bring him back on loan next season.
He adds pace and direct running that they lack elsewhere in their squad, so snapping him up on loan again looks a smart move.
Hopefully, a full season at the club can help him really kick on because he’s struggled for consistency since leaving Leeds.
It’ll be an interesting one.
Clarke has been used as a sub quite a lot this year under Michael O’Neill but I guess the Stoke boss feels that he can still use Clarke and get a good level out of him.
We know that he is a good footballer from his time at Leeds but he has lost his way a bit and I think it’s fair to say the move to Spurs was too early for him.
Even so, there’s plenty of time for him to develop further and learn and if O’Neill thinks he can get him back to a consistent level then maybe it will work.
Can you score full marks on this Stoke City quiz?
Clarke seems like a sensible option for Stoke to bring back in the summer on another loan deal from Tottenham, given that he will be already well familiar with what Michael O’Neill is trying to get from his side. He will also have built up relationships with the rest of the Potters’ squad, which is important for any new signing that comes into a club.
He showed flashes of his quality during his 14 appearances in the league before his injury, and if Stoke can try and get that sort of quality from him consistently it would be an excellent addition to the squad. Clarke knows he is reaching a very important part of his career where he needs to start providing consistent performances to fulfil his potential.
It will be important that Stoke are confident over his fitness heading into next season before they make any move for him. The Potters have already struggled a lot with injuries this term so they will not want a repeat with signings that come in in the summer.
Stoke seems like a place where Clarke could potentially fit in well and show his quality next term. However, it will also depend on whether O’Neill is planning to play with wingers consistently or not, if he is then the Tottenham forward is a good option for them to re-sign.