West Bromwich Albion look set to land a deal to bring Matt Clarke to The Hawthorns this summer.
What’s the talk?
That’s according to a claim made by The Telegraph journalist John Percy, who revealed in a post on Twitter that Valerien Ismael’s side are expected to sign the Brighton & Hove Albion centre-back on a season-long loan deal on Tuesday.
It was reported by The Sun over the weekend that West Brom were in negotiations with the Premier League side over a £5m permanent deal for the defender, however, according to Percy’s latest update, the switch actually appears to be a temporary one.
Would Clarke be a good signing?
Fans will be buzzing
Having highly impressed on a season-long loan deal at Derby County last season, the addition of Clarke to Albion’s options in the centre of defence next season looks to be a fantastic piece of business by the club, as well as one that should have fans buzzing.
Indeed, over his 42 Championship fixtures for the Rams last term, the £2.7m-rated defender helped his team keep 12 clean sheets, as well as making an average of 1.4 interceptions, 1.4 tackles, 4.3 clearances and winning an enormous 8.1 duels per game.
These metrics saw the man Graham Potter dubbed a “quality” centre-back earn an average SofaScore match rating of 7.05, ranking him as Wayne Rooney’s third-best performer in the second tier, a surprising accomplishment considering Derby barely scrapped survival in the Championship last time out.
Furthermore, with Clarke being a left-footed centre-back, the signing of the Brighton man brings with it a great deal more choice for Ismael in the heart of the Albion defence next season, as both of the club’s current centre-backs, Kyle Bartley and Semi Ajayi, are right-footed.
As such, it would seem as if the £21k-per-week defender could easily slip in on the left-hand side of a two-man centre-back pairing, or even on the left of a three-man backline for the Baggies, with the Frenchman favouring a three-man defence during his spell in charge of Barnsley.
So, considering his impressive displays, as well as the options his addition would provide the 45-year-old West Brom manager tactically, should Albion go on to get a deal over the line for the 24-year-old in the coming hours, it would be difficult to argue that Clarke would not be a fantastic signing for the Championship promotion hopefuls.
The seemingly imminent arrival of Clarke should have West Brom fans buzzing.