The 23-year-old had a loan spell at Derby last term and, as stated by Ryan Conway in a Q&A for The Athletic, the Rams have made no secret of their desire to have him back. However, the journalist added that the Seagulls are weighing up their options for a potential destination for the player and could consider giving him a loan experience with a different club.
Clarke signed for Brighton from Portsmouth last summer but was loaned out to Derby before he got a chance to feature competitively for the Seagulls. His move to the Championship side at least enabled him to gain ample experience, starting 34 league games for Philip Cocu’s side.
The 23-year-old stood out as a no-nonsense defender during his spell at Pride Park, winning 4.4 headers per game and making 1.5 interceptions and 4.9 clearances per match. He also kept play ticking over nicely for the Rams, with a match average of 58.9 passes. [via WhoScored]
Despite Clarke enjoying a reasonably strong season for Derby, competition for centre-back places at Brighton remains fierce. Lewis Dunk, Adam Webster and Shane Duffy all remain from last term, while Ben White has returned from his loan at Leeds, with the Seagulls adamant that the 22-year-old is not for sale (as per BBC). They have all been joined by summer acquisition Joel Veltman from Ajax, too.
Indeed, Graham Potter’s options at centre-back appear so well-stocked that Duffy has been linked with a move away from the Amex Stadium, with Celtic, Burnley, West Ham and West Brom all reportedly interested in the Irishman (as per Daily Mail).
Clarke won more headers per game and made more clearances last season than any player at Brighton, so he may feel that he deserves a chance to impress at his parent club.
Can you see Matt Clarke ever becoming a Brighton first team regular?
However, with the scramble for centre-back places leading to rumours of Duffy’s exit, the ex-Portsmouth defender could be best served by another loan spell. All he can do is make the most of things at wherever he is sent and hope that it will be enough to impress Potter, or hope for a change of circumstances at the Amex Stadium to give him an increased chance of finally getting a go for the Seagulls.
Brighton fans, would you be in favour of another loan move for Clarke or should he be given a chance by Potter? Comment below with your views!
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