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…
Middlesbrough are interested in signing Tottenham winger Jack Clarke on loan, according to Football League World sources.
Spurs are understood to be ready to let him leave temporarily in January with Barnsley, Boro, and Sheffield United all keen.
But would he be a good signing for the Teessiders?
We quizzed our FLW writers for their thoughts…
Personally, I do not see where Clarke fits into Chris Wilder’s system and there will be plenty of other options available to Boro in January.
Spurs have made it abundantly clear that they want to move Clarke on, at least on loan until the end of the season, with his track record and the money the North Londoners shelled out for his signature, naturally second-tier clubs will be considering the option.
Unless Clarke is a ready-made left wing-back, this would not be a good signing and with a lot of capable attacking players in Boro’s ranks, the 21-year-old’s game time would be limited.
Considering the deep pockets Boro demonstrated in the summer window they should be shopping in better markets than Premier League 2 rejects in January.
I’m not convinced that Clarke will be someone that Wilder wants. Neil Warnock might have had eyes on him but you’d imagine the targets will change upon Wilder’s arrival.
It’s going to be a variant of 3-5-2 for Boro moving forwards and there’s no room for wingers like Clarke, who are very one dimensional in the position that they play.
You’ve only got to look at the squad that’s been left behind by Wilder at Sheffield United to realise that wingers just aren’t what he wants.
Boro will be looking to nail down the wing-back positions and maybe even the centre-backs in January. That’ll be the base Wilder looks to build from.
Of course, more attacking players to fit his system might be on the agenda, too. However, it’s difficult to see how Clarke will be one of those.
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This should be a cheap enough signing to complete and a reasonably low-risk one – and this is exactly what the club needs after seeing the board invest in plenty of new players in the summer.
However, the system Chris Wilder opts to play will depend on how effective this addition would be.
They seem to be suited to a 3-4-1-2 formation with the number of forwards they have at their disposal and the solid figures they have at the heart of defence, making the signing of a winger almost futile.
In saying that, he would allow Boro to change their formation and switch to a plan B if needed – and this could be vital in their quest to reach the top six at the end of the campaign.
There certainly wouldn’t be a shortage of motivation for him to do well either, so it’s a signing that could work out for the best.