Monday, November 28, 2022

Wolves Facing Competition To Sign 21 Y/O Portsmouth Defender: Should Santo Go For It?

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Bishwaraj Bhattacharyya
Former athlete. Now a journalist hoping to cover football no matter the league or country.

Wolves are facing competition from other Premier League outfits for Portsmouth defensive ace, Matt Clarke. The 21-year-old is on a number of clubs’ radar after enjoying a standout season in the League One. Clarke appeared in 46 games for Pompey and contributed 3 goals and 2 assists.

Portsmouth are looking to bank a monumental amount if interest for the youngster keeps rising at such rates. Clarke is primarily a graduate of the Ipswich Town youth academy but made his mark with the Fratton Park-based outfit.

He made his league debut against Crawley Town on 12th August 2014, starting off in the left-back position. After signing a 2-year professional contract, he went on trial to Portsmouth next summer and landed a 6-month loan spell.

2 months later, he was handed a permanent contract and the player never looked back. He has already racked up over 100 appearances for Pompey, helping the side to the League Two title in the 2016/17 campaign.

He quickly established himself as a dominant figure in the backline with a wonderful ability to read the game. Clarke’s development has been aided by the regular involvement he has had with the senior team and the youngster looks ready to take the next step in his playing career.

However, the question lies in whether Wolves are the right outfit to provide him with the opportunity. Among Danny Batth, Ryan Bennett, Conor Coady, Willy Boly, Roderick Miranda and Kortney Hause, the Wanderers backline is an example of hoading so many talented players.

Nuno Santo implemented the 3-back formation last term and still, the later trio found game time hard to come by.

Clarke will not only be a surplus to the Portuguese’s requirements, his rise to become a top professional is expected to get hindered. It is best for him to either stay with his current club for another season or start entertaining offers from other clubs.

Portsmouth themselves have revealed that they are under no obligation to sell the player and that could come as a blessing rather than a curse. The club chairman, Mark Caitlin said, “Kenny Jackett (Portsmouth manager) wants to build a team around Matt Clarke.”

“We’re not under pressure to sell, it’s very much a case of keeping hold of our prize asset unless of course there’s an offer the player and the club can’t turn down. It would have to some sort of astronomical offer that I just can’t imagine coming. You can never say never of course, but we’re desperate to keep hold of our best players.”

Read More: Wolves Not Likely To Extend Deal For Their Brazilian Star: Big Mistake From Thelwell?

From the present look of things, it might be the right decision for Santo to stick to his current squad which includes a number of talented defenders and use them as per the situation demands.

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