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…
Derby County manager Phillip Cocu is looking to strengthen his squad ahead of the start of the new Championship season, with Brighton centre-back Matt Clarke a potential target, according to Sun journalist Tom Barclay on Twitter.
Clarke only arrived at American Express Community Stadium in June on a four-year deal having spent three seasons along the South Coast at Portsmouth, but with first team opportunities likely to be difficult to come-by the player may be open to a loan move away.
So would Clarke prove a good signing at Pride Park?
“This would be a serious coup for the Rams if they can pull it off.
“With Fikayo Tomori looking unlikely to return there is definitely a gap in the centre of Philip Cocu’s defence for a domineering centre-back who is comfortable on the ball.
“Considering that the likes of Leeds and Stoke were after him earlier in the window, this would be a real statement from Derby and gives them an edge on other possible promotion rivals.
“I still think another creative winger would be of real use to them this summer, but the squad is very nearly there.”
“I think this would be a fantastic signing for Derby if the Rams managed to lure him away from Brighton.
“I was expecting big things from Clarke at Brighton next season, so it’s actually quite surprising to see that he could be made available this summer.
“He was outstanding for Portsmouth, not just last season, but seasons before that as well, and he was a fantastic servant to the South Coast club.
“He can play the ball out from the back with ease, he wins no end of aerial duels, and if Derby want a Tomori replacement, Clarke is the man.”
“With Fikayo Tomori not returning to Derby this season, Phillip Cocu needs to add a new central defender and Clarke would fill that need.
“Cocu’s only options at centre-back are Richard Keogh and Curtis Davies, neither of whom are getting any younger, so his back-line could use some freshening up and Clarke could provide exactly that.
“Clarke was excellent at Pompey last season and he will surely be looking to prove he can thrive above League One after joining Brighton this summer.
“He is a solid defender first and foremost but he is also brilliant bringing the ball out of the back, which will likely appeal to Cocu.”