Sunderland did an impressive job of fending off interest in Jack Clarke during the summer transfer window. Despite his excellent performance in the Championship last season, where he scored nine goals and provided 12 assists, Burnley’s low-ball offers didn’t seem to bother him, and he remained at Sunderland. Clarke has nearly equaled his goal tally from the previous season, scoring seven goals in just 11 games, which has reignited interest in him.
With nearly three months remaining until the January transfer window, both Brentford and Burnley are already preparing bids for Clarke. Recent reports suggest that Sunderland might be willing to accept an offer around £15 million, news that their supporters won’t be thrilled to hear. Since Mason Burstow has yet to score, Sunderland has heavily relied on Clarke for goals, and losing him in the new year could leave them without a significant attacking threat.
Sunderland fans are hoping to retain Clarke at least until the summer, but if he moves to the Premier League, Kristjaan Speakman, the club’s Sporting Director, will have to explore alternative options. Here are four rather ambitious targets that Sunderland could consider to replace Clarke:
1. Jesurun Rak-Sakyi: Rak-Sakyi would likely be among the first choices on Sunderland’s shortlist due to their strong
interest in him over the summer. The 21-year-old impressed during a loan spell with Charlton Athletic, where he was named their Player of the Year after scoring 15 goals and providing eight assists in League One. Although expected to go on loan in the summer, he remained at Crystal Palace and has made four substitute appearances. Palace might be open to sending him on loan in January as a temporary solution to potentially losing Clarke.
2. Ben Doak: Pursuing Ben Doak would be a bold move, considering his involvement with Liverpool’s senior team this
season. The 17-year-old joined Liverpool from Celtic last year and rapidly climbed the youth ranks, making a strong impression during the preseason with the senior squad. While he made his Premier League debut on the opening day against Chelsea and started in the Europa League against LASK, he hasn’t played in the top flight for two months. Sunderland could attempt to secure him on loan to the Championship, though Jurgen Klopp’s willingness to loan him out might depend on Liverpool’s schedule.
3. Simon Adingra: Although a loan deal for Simon Adingra might have been feasible in the summer, his emergence under Roberto De Zerbi at Brighton makes a move to Sunderland seem less likely. Adingra made a remarkable 23 goal contributions in all competitions during his loan spell with Union Saint-Gilloise last season. While it was initially thought that Brighton’s outstanding attacking talent would keep him out of the first team, the Ivorian has started three games for the Seagulls this season and already has two goals to his name. Although Adingra would be a fantastic signing for Sunderland, De Zerbi may be inclined to retain him after his recent impressive performances.
4. Oscar Bobb: Another promising young winger from the Premier League is Oscar Bobb. The 20-year-old joined Manchester City’s academy in 2019 and was recognized by The Guardian as the best young talent in his age group at the club. Bobb had an outstanding season with City’s U21 side last year, scoring six goals and providing 17 assists in PL2 Division 1. While he caught Pep Guardiola’s attention and made his Premier League debut last month, he’s far from being a regular starter. Pep might consider allowing him to go on loan in January, and he might have heard positive things about Sunderland.