SUNDERLAND have told Burnley they will not be backed into a corner over Jack Clarke and are determined to stand firm in their valuation of the in-demand winger.

Clarke is the subject of mounting transfer interest after an impressive season in the Championship in which he scored nine goals and claimed 12 assists, with Burnley currently pushing hardest in an attempt to secure his signature.

The Clarets have had a formal offer for the 22-year-old rejected by the hierarchy at the Stadium of Light, and have followed that up with a series of further discussions that have not resulted in a significant shift in position on either side of the negotiating table.

Burnley’s offer is understood to have been an initial fee of around £7m, with the value of the whole deal potentially rising to just over £10m if a series of add-on clauses are met. However, Sunderland feel that seriously undervalues a player who is regarded as one of the most exciting prospects in the whole of the Football League and who was valued at more than £10m when he joined Tottenham as a largely untried teenager in 2019.

Since then, Clarke has benefited from training with Tottenham’s first-team group and proved himself in both League One and the Championship with Sunderland.

While Burnley are trying to pull off a deal for an up-front fee of around £7m, the Black Cats are understood to value Clarke at more than double that. Last summer, Keane Lewis-Potter joined Brentford from Hull City for a reported fee of £16m. At the time, the midfielder was 21 – a very similar age to Clarke – and was coming off the back of a season that had seen him score 13 Championship goals and claim three assists.


Given his previous experience with both Leeds United and Tottenham, it can certainly be argued that Clarke is at a more advanced stage of his development now than Lewis-Potter was when he joined Brentford, and boasts greater potential scope for future progress. As a result, the Sunderland hierarchy are adamant Clarke’s fee should at least match what Brentford were shelling out last summer.

To further strengthen Sunderland’s resolve to drive a hard bargain, the terms of the deal that took Clarke to the Stadium of Light from Tottenham are understood to contain a sell-on clause that means Spurs would be due a proportion of any fee received for the winger. Clearly, that provides a further incentive for Sunderland’s transfer team to ensure they extract the maximum possible value if they decide to sell.

With Clarke still having three years of his contract to run, there is no compelling incentive for Sunderland to sell, and while talks over a new deal have been shelved, sources close to those involved in the ongoing discussions insist the Black Cats hierarchy will be delighted if the York-born wide-man remains on Wearside this summer.

The Northern Echo: Sunderland winger Jack ClarkeSunderland winger Jack Clarke (Image: Ian Horrocks)

However, there is also an acceptance that Sunderland’s new transfer model – buying young, relatively unproven players at a low price with a view to developing and improving them within the first-team group – is reliant on at least some players eventually being sold on at a profit that can then be reinvested into the squad.

This summer, with interest in Anthony Patterson, Dan Neil and Patrick Roberts as well as Clarke, is the first real test of that model, and as Clarke’s agent, Ian Harte, spelled out last week, Sunderland’s approach to all of this summer’s transfer talks is that every player has their price. That does not mean, however, that they will cave in if that price is not met.

Sunderland confirmed their first signing of the summer on Thursday, with Australian centre-half Nectarios Triantis joining from A-League side Central Coast Mariners.

The Black Cats are also close to tying up deals for Jobe Bellingham, who is set to leave Birmingham City in a deal worth around £3m, and Luis Semedo, who is a free agent following his release from Benfica, where he had been playing for the Portuguese side’s B team.