Journalist Phil Smith has praised Sunderland for the gamble they took on eventually signing Jack Clarke on a permanent deal.
Sunderland took a big risk in bringing Clarke to the club on loan in January to help bolster their attack and get them out of League One considering he had failed to make the grade during his doomed spell in the top flight.
However, Clarke has become a big hit on Wearside and is now thriving in a wing-back role at the Stadium of Light having joined the Black Cats permanently over the summer – and people who labelled him a flop during his Spurs days will now be thinking twice.
Speaking on The Roar podcast, Smith has praised Sunderland for the gamble they took on Clarke as it has certainly paid off.
He said: “It was good business as well. I know there’s been some quite outrageous fees sort of mentioned in certain places, but as I said at the time, it will be a lot closer to £1m than £10m that Sunderland [pay] – potentially less than that, from my understanding.
“Obviously, that will change over time because there’ll be clauses in there, there’ll be a sell-on – but that only happens if he succeeds at Sunderland, so that’s good.
Will Sunderland finish in the play-offs?
“So I think you have to give a lot of credit to the player for taking the opportunity on and making the most of his opportunity, and you definitely have to give a lot of credit to the club for structuring a deal that’s allowed them to bring a player of that promise in, and also for trusting him.
“Because as Tony Mowbray mentioned a couple of weeks ago, he had plenty of chances to sign Clarke on loan at Blackburn, but didn’t do it because he just felt he’d lost his way, that he wasn’t sure. So it’s a gamble that’s really paid off for everyone so far and fingers crossed that continues.”
TIF Thoughts on Clarke’s form…
This season has been one to remember so far for Clarke, with the attacker starting every league game thus far under Alex Neil and Tony Mowbray – and there’s no reason for him to lose his spot considering the form that he’s in.
Clarke has managed to register seven goal involvements in the league and his role as a wing-back is a huge reason behind the Black Cats’ success in the Championship, with Mowbray’s men currently sitting fifth.
All in all, it certainly seems as though the club have secured a top bargain for a quality player.