Sunday, May 26, 2024

Stoke loan could bring the best out of Harry Clarke

It was confirmed on Friday that Arsenal have recalled Harry Clarke from his loan spell at Hibernian, with the expectation being that the defender will now join Stoke City on a temporary basis for the upcoming season.

In January Clarke signed for Hibernian on an initial 18-month loan deal, which included break clauses for both this summer and January 2023. Although an injury delayed his debut for the club, Clarke subsequently impressed and he also managed to get on the scoresheet against St Mirren.

Despite mainly being a centre-back, Clarke also possesses some experience of playing at right-back, while for part of his spell at Hibernian he was deployed as a left wing-back.

Playing in the Championship would be a good test of Clarke’s credentials and would help to provide a better gauge of the level that he is currently at.

Given that he is 21 years old, we are approaching the time where a decision will have to be made regarding Clarke’s long-term future at Arsenal. Breaking into a first-team squad which contains the likes of Ben White, Gabriel and William Saliba is a daunting task, but for now Clarke will be focused on doing the best that he can elsewhere.

Daniel Ballard has done all that he can both out on loan and also on the international stage with Northern Ireland but he is still set to be sold this summer, which proves just how difficult it is for young centre-backs to make the grade at Arsenal.

Signed from Ipswich Town as a schoolboy in 2015 when he was a midfielder, Clarke has developed very well at Arsenal and has also taken in loan spells at Oldham Athletic and Ross County.

Now he looks set for the next step in his development as he looks to push on further.

Jeorge Bird is the author of Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird

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Des Lynam

Nice to see our Academy lads set for good careers in the game.


The academy has been worth its weight in gold the last few seasons.
Good luck Harry Clarke!

Naked Cygan

Who was the last loaned out or academy player who broke into our first team squad? Was it Eddie? And who was the most expensive loan or academy player we sold? Any one have data on this?


Most expensive sale has to be Iwobi. Smith Rowe is probably the last loaned out academy player who broke into our first team squad.

Crash Fistfight

I’d imagine the most expensive academy player was Iwobi. In terms of loaned-out players, I’d think that would be Martinez.


I find it amazing that Arsenal’s academy has not produced a single centre half To make it at the club since Tony Adams in the 1980s.


There was Gus Caesar, but he made Mustafi look like Beckenbauer – hardly what you might call ‘making it.’

That he managed to stay in a squad managed by George Graham for five years – until George finally realised what the North Bank had been quietly trying to tell him all along, ie Gus was, not to put too fine a point on it, utter shit – remains a bigger Arsenal Stadium Mystery than the film.


And of course, Martin Keown – who did make it, and quite successfully too, I might add.


How many EPL clubs have academy graduates at CB?
It’s a tough route for any academy player to make the grade in any position, but I’d argue that CB and GK are probably the hardest of all due to the nature of those positions.
Attackers tend to peak younger, or at least be ready for competitive competition. Generally CB at big clubs will be 25+, so to get from academy to 1st team at the same club is tough.
Probably a few contract extensions and a series of loans would be required.


I’m liking the Right Back bit.

And it’s high time the Academy produced a Centre Half, so it’s all good.


A Stoke loan is hardly a dream.

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