Podcasters Ben from ‘Blues Breakdown’ and Luke from ‘Blues Analytics’ have identified a Premier League centre-back that they believe Birmingham City should look to sign this summer during an episode of Bowyer’s Black Book.
They identified Brighton and Hove Albion centre-back Matt Clarke as a target that the Blues should pursue ahead of the new season.
The defender was signed by Brighton from Portsmouth in the summer of 2019 and has spent the last two years on loan in the Championship with Derby County. The 24-year-old made 42 appearances for the Rams in the league last season and it was enough to impress Luke, who suggested that he would make a good signing for Birmingham City this summer.
He said: “His first spell [at Derby] was a bit more fruitful, I believe Derby finished 10th in the first season that he was there.
“He went back to Derby, I imagine that he may have been expecting a similar season – but he’s doing a second season at Derby, for whatever reason, and of course, that sort of transpired into a relegation battle. I don’t think it was particularly down to the quality, or lack of, of Matt Clarke, and I think he’s a great left-sided centre-half.
“He’s a good calibre and he’s a good honest player, but then when you transfer that into the metrics and have a look at how they look, I mean, against the sort of average Championship centre-backs, he’s quite clear on pretty much every metric, really.
“He’s six foot one, a great age, I mean, I think any Championship club who needs a centre-half, particularly on the left side – because they are slightly at more of a premium…
“I’ll be surprised, you know, how can you look past this guy, really, when he’s churning out those sort of stats and metrics, in a Derby team that was sort of struggling right to the end?”
TIF thoughts on Matt Clarke to Birmingham City…
Delving into Clarke’s performances, it’s easy to see why he received so much praise during the podcast. The £2.7m-rated ace received a WhoScored rating of 7.06 this season in what was a poor Derby side, who avoided relegation to League One on the final day of the season.
Clarke is described by WhoScored as a player who is very strong aerially as well as being a good passer of the ball and aged just 24, it could be a good coup for Bowyer’s side, whether it be a loan move or if Brighton decide to cash in on the centre-back this summer.
Having clearly proved his worth at this level, and with Bowyer having a positive effect on the club since arriving in the Midlands, Clarke may well be suited for a place in this Blues team.
Will Clarke be someone that Birmingham City look to bring in this summer?