Tottenham are close to completing their first signing since January 2018 with highly-rated Leeds teenage winger Jack Clarke set to join shortly after the sides agreed a deal worth up to £11.5m.
Clarke, 18, has just finished his breakthrough campaign with the Championship side – where he burst onto the scene with a memorable display against Derby in January. He flickered in-and-out of Marcelo Bielsa’s team after collapsing while watching from the dugout at Middlesbrough the following month.
The deal could rise to £11.5m should all the add-ons be met, though Spurs will initially pay £10m and the teenager will undergo his medical today. Club managing director Angus Kinnear continued talks with Spurs early this morning and Clarke – who began 19/20 pre-season this week – is travelling to London today.
Leeds don’t want to sell, but seemingly have no choice
Leeds are reluctant to sell a player of Clarke’s ability and potential, though also find themselves under pressure generating transfer sales to balance their books. Despite previous suggestions elsewhere hinting Clarke would return on a season-long loan deal as part of the agreement, he’s instead expected to compete for a first-team place at Tottenham this coming season.
Mauricio Pochettino is believed to be convinced that Clarke has what it takes to make the step-up in quality to the top-flight under his guidance, having seen enough in flashes – despite making just four starts this term.
Pochettino, eager for more financial backing over his transfer targets, wants to push for more players after their topsy-turvy 18/19 campaign. They were ultimately Champions League finalists but finished a whopping 27 points off champions Manchester City and have regularly suffered with inconsistency given inadequate squad depth.
The move to sign Clarke is not believed to have an impact on their pursuit of Fulham’s £25m-rated Ryan Sessegnon, after the Cottagers were relegated this season. They are also interested in Ryan’s twin brother Steven, a right-back also contracted to Fulham while Norwich’s Max Aarons is also another target.
Having made a club-record £55m bid for Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele this week, they’re confident a deal can be agreed swiftly which would represent a massive coup while improving their quality and ever-growing reputation among Europe’s elite.
Information sources: BBC, Evening Standard and LeedsLive