With speculation about the future of Leeds United Academy graduate Jack Clarke seriously ramping up this week and the rumours about his potential switch to Tottenham Hotspur really starting to get some details behind them, former player and BBC pundit Noel Whelan has slammed the club for letting the hugely talented lad leave for a ‘knockdown’ price.
With plenty of debate when it comes to the fee it seems that Spurs will be paying for the 18-year-old, it seems the only consensus reports have so far is that the overall deal will be worth in the region of £15million to Leeds, but the upfront portion continues to be unknown – although £10million is a popular choice.
Reports on Wednesday suggested he was in London for a medical, so most expect an announcement at some point this evening.
just paperwork left to do on this move. Will be a five-year deal for Clarke.
— Phil Hay (@PhilHay_) June 27, 2019
With it believed that Leeds also have first refusal on a loan spell should Spurs look to get him out for greater game time, opinion in the fanbase is already split given the figures being banded about but Whelan certainly pulled no punches when giving his opinion.
“If Leeds sell Clarke for £8.5-£10million, that shows weakness. We’re being soft yet again, when we need to be tough. We’ve gone down the route we went with Lewis Cook, who’s now worth three or four times what Bournemouth paid us for him. It’s desperate from Leeds, I’m afraid. £8m, £10m it’s a disgrace. We need to be stronger as a club than that. The chairman, Mr Radrizzani, needs to be stronger. You can’t blame the young man for having his head turned by Tottenham. They’re a big club who were in the Champions League final a month ago. Which Championship teenager wouldn’t be interested? I don’t want Leeds to be a selling club, I really don’t. I’m afraid Mr Radrizzani has let the fans down with this one. If he got £13m straight up, that would make a difference, as you can buy three quality players.”
Although plenty of fans will agree with Whelan, it’s a spurious argument. £10million and more for an 18-year-old with four Championship starts is a good price ultimately. We all know how highly rated he is and the kind of player we expect him to become but that’s ifs and maybe’s.
He’s not yet a key part of the first team and he did more struggle for form after his illness so if it’s a choice between Clarke or say Phillips, Phillips is the more key player to keep for continuity next year.
That’s not to do Clarke down, it’s just the reality of the situation.