Could Jack Clarke's potential Leeds return end in disaster?

Jack Clarke of Leeds United

Leeds United will reportedly get Jack Clarke back on loan.

Jack Clarke of Leeds United

The Daily Mail has reported that Jack Clarke will sign for Tottenham Hotspur and then immediately re-join Leeds United on a season-long loan.

The 18-year-old winger has dominated headlines in recent days and Spurs look set to announce his arrival on Monday.

By virtue of the fact that his senior career is comprised of only four Championship starts, there is an argument to be made that Clarke is joining the Champions League runners-up a bit too soon.

If the decision to join Tottenham in the first place is questionable, then going back to Elland Road could make things a whole lot worse.

 

Firstly, Clarke would be returning to the Whites as a squad player. Jack Harrison, who's reportedly set to re-join United on loan from Manchester City [Sky Sports], finished last season as Marcelo Bielsa's left-sided winger and there's no reason for that to change when the Championship season kicks off.

Realistically, is he going to play every week? Almost certainly not and therefore it's puzzling as to why Leeds - who are also set to sign Helder Costa - would even agree to getting him back. He isn't needed.

Secondly, he will go into next season knowing that he has to win a lot of the fans over. Many will support him so long as he wears the shirt, no matter what, but many more will undeniably harbour a bit of resentment toward him for leaving and is he equipped to handle potential hostility from the terraces?

Leeds fans show their support during the Sky Bet Championship Play-off semi final second leg match between Leeds United and Derby County at Elland Road on May 15, 2019 in Leeds, England.

It's worth remembering that this is an 18-year-old lad with the equivalent of nine full games under his belt - only 814 minutes - in his entire career. If things get ugly, it could decimate his confidence and even he might regret the decision to come back.

You can understand the supporters' frustration. After all, their club is effectively being asked to develop a bigger club's player, which is fine so long as the player in question didn't belong to you in the first place. That fact adds to the storm Clarke might be signing up for.

There are pros of getting back, because obviously he's a tremendous talent and one capable of challenging Harrison, but for the most part it looks like Leeds are agreeing to re-sign a squad player who may be vilified by fans and one who'll be gone a year from now, no matter what happens. 

This is a recipe for disaster and a clean break is so desperately needed here.

Leeds United's Jack Clarke battles with Nottingham Forest's Ben Osborn at Elland Road on October 27, 2018 in Leeds, England.

 

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