Portsmouth defender Matt Clarke completed a medical yesterday, ahead of his move to Brighton. It will be Graham Potters first signing since taking over The Seagulls, as he looks to build his own side that can push for a mid-table finish next season.
Clarke played a pivotal role in a defence that conceded the least goals in League One last campaign, however, Pompey lost 1-0 to Sunderland in the play-off semi-final. The 22-year-old is destined to play Premier League football, and with Portsmouth failing to reach the Championship, it was inevitable that he would be leaving Fratton Park.
So, let us look at two things that Matt Clarke could offer Brighton from next season…
A ‘ball-playing centre back’
I watched quite a lot of Portsmouth last season, and one thing that always struck me was how good Clarke was on the ball, especially for a League One defender.
Potter is a manger that likes his defenders to play out from the back and looking confident doing it, Clarke fits the bill. Not only a good, physical defender but also the ability to start attacks from deep.
Coincidentally, being a Wigan fan, I know Dan Burn is far from confident when playing this style – may be a return home is on the cards? I’d take it.
Clarke was chucked the Captain’s armband at just 21 years old. He reminds me of Harry Maguire a lot, shaped like a rugby player, just drives forward with the ball and is very difficult to stop when marauding through midfield. For a young player, he has a massive amount of self-confidence and most importantly, ability.
I imagine Potter will be looking to build his side around Clarke, a partnership with Dunk is a pretty good start. It’s a transfer we could look back on in 2/3 years when he’s being sold on for a sizeable fee, and I’ll say – I told he was good.