Spurs flop who was sold in 2022 is now better than Brennan Johnson


One week into December, Tottenham Hotspur let their lead slip on home soil to hand West Ham United victory in the Premier League; it was Ange Postecoglou’s side’s fourth defeat in five matches.

Several months back, the 2022/23 season whirred into life and Postecoglou’s project took off with unfettered fluency, eight victories and two draws placing Spurs at the top of the table and pleasingly ahead of schedule in the early days of a new era.

The ebb and flow of results and performance this season is not new at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium but the big difference is the singular vision under Postecoglou’s management, each acquisition made in the transfer market providing a boost to the overall strength of the squad.

Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou.

That’s not to say that many existing players were not up to standard, with the likes of Cristian Romero, Dejan Kulusevski and Heung-min Son revived after last year’s struggle.

Much deadwood has been moved on but one sale before Postecoglou’s arrival in Jack Clarke might be viewed with a certain ruefulness, with the Sunderland winger certainly capable of earning praise down the N17.

Why Tottenham signed Jack Clarke

Way back in 2019, Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham completed the signing of teenage prospect Clarke for around £10m, joining from Leeds United and remaining at Elland Road on loan for the 2019/20 term.

Only 18 years old, Clarke had made his Whites debut under Marcelo Bielsa in 2018 and impressed with some precocious displays, posting two goals and two assists apiece across just four starting appearances in the Championship.

Pundit Noel Whelan had certainly noticed the teen’s talent, waxing over his traits and saying: “He has got a great ability to glide past players. I don’t think I’ve seen a winger really as talented as that, where it looks effortless, just to take somebody on and he really does get you on the edge of your seat, he’s one of those exciting players.

“He’s only going to get better but once again a player we can only enjoy if we go into the Premier League because there’s teams sniffing around him.”

It certainly wasn’t a mistake for Tottenham to make their move for Clarke, blessed with many attractive natural qualities and showing signs of productivity through both his direct threat and playmaking.

Former Tottenham player Jack Clarke.

But Clarke’s signing was just one of many youth prospects making the jump to a team at the forefront of English football too soon; might he have been better placed in a stable environment for a few more years, instead of itinerantly jumping from loan stint to loan stint?

Antonio Conte appears to have made a mistake in allowing Clarke to drift away in 2022, with the wide man now shining and proving his worth as a winger studded with natural talent and self-belief.

Once praised for his “undoubtable talent” by QPR’s former director of football Les Ferdinand, during one of his several loan spells while on Tottenham’s books, Clarke only made four senior appearances for Spurs before completing a final loan move to Sunderland midway through the 2021/22 campaign, impressing during the Black Cats’ promotion push in League One and earning a permanent transfer the following summer.

Jack Clarke’s Sunderland career

Now aged 23, Clarke has found his feet at the Stadium of Light and cemented a starring spot in a side pushing for a return to the Premier League.

Last season, his first full year in Tyne and Wear, the 23-year-old scored 11 goals and provided 14 assists across 50 appearances in all competitions as Sunderland reached the play-off semi-finals, losing to Luton Town.

Jack Clarke

As per FBref, the 6 foot 1 attacker ranks among the top 15% of attacking midfielders and wingers across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for shot-creating actions and tackles, the top 1% for progressive carries, the top 5% for successful take-ons and the top 2% for touches in the attacking box per 90.

Such metrics speak of blistering pace and a wily and progressive ability that allows him to surge into promising positions down the left flank and unleash his creativity.

As per Sofascore, Clarke has been in incredible form this term and currently stands with 13 goals and four assists in the second tier, ​​​​​​averaging 2.5 key passes, 1.7 tackles, 4.6 ball recoveries, 3.7 dribbles and 8.2 successful duels per game.

It’s a stunning level of performance and one that suggests he is ready for a second shot at the big time; indeed, West Ham and Serie A side Lazio had pushed for a transfer in January but were rebuffed.

Destined for the top, Clarke might actually be performing at a higher standard than Tottenham winger Brennan Johnson, who signed for the club from Nottingham Forest in a £47.5m package last summer.

Better than Brennan Johnson

Johnson has only clinched two goals and four assists across 19 outings for Spurs so far but was crucial to the Tricky Trees’ Premier League survival last season and scored ten times.

Of course, Clarke currently plies his trade below England’s top-flight and Johnson hardly struggled during his last season in the Championship, scoring 16 goals and supplying nine assists as Nottingham Forest secured promotion, but the Sunderland star is demonstrating newfound maturity and, theoretically, if he could transfer his form to Tottenham right now he would be poised for success.

Brennan Johnson: Key Characteristics





Counter-attack threat

Aerial duels

Source: WhoScored

While Johnson is a crisp dribbler and has been lauded for his “frightening” speed by compatriot Joe Allen, there’s a case that Clarke offers all Johnson, aged 22, does and more.

Averaging just 0.7 dribbles, 1.1 key passes and 2.8 key passes per game in the top flight highlights this point.

Johnson is young and will hopefully continue to take strides under Postecoglou’s wing, but had Spurs managed Clarke’s time at the club better then there is every possibility that a large sum could have been saved on Johnson and a truly dynamic and effective phenom could now be coming into their own in the capital.


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button