Derby County are keen to bring defender Matt Clarke back to the club next season, after an impressive loan spell at Pride Park this term.
It was a busy summer for Clarke, who joined Brighton and Hove Albion on a four-year deal from Portsmouth after another standout campaign for the South Coast side in League One.
But before he was even given a chance to impress upon his £3,5m move to the AMEX Stadium, the 23-year-old was soon on his way out, joining Derby on a season-long loan deal in the summer.
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Clarke has since become a key player during his time at Pride Park, making 28 appearances across all competitions for Phillip Cocu’s side.
A knee injury kept him out of action between November and December after a fiery clash with Nottingham Forest, but he is undoubtedly one of Derby’s first-choice defenders when he’s fit and available.
Derbyshire Live claim that the Rams are keen to bring Clarke back to the club again next season, however it remains to be seen whether that is on a loan or permanent basis.
Derby have already added another centre-back to their ranks in Mike te Wierik, who will join the club on a pre-contract agreement in the summer.
The Rams still have a chance of making the play-offs this term, with Cocu’s men sitting five points off sixth with nine games remaining.
It would be a major coup for Derby to bring in Matt Clarke, as he likely to cost a lot of money given that Brighton only paid £3.5m for his signature last summer.
With Ben White thriving out on loan, you imagine that he would be Brighton’s number-one choice at centre-back once he returns from Leeds, so I don’t know whether Clarke would be in their plans or not.
Another season-long loan deal would be a smart move by Derby, in my view.