Arsenal academy star Harry Clarke is close to joining Scottish Premiership side Ross County on loan after fruitful negotiations between the two clubs, per the Daily Record.
Staggies boss Malky Mackay wants to add to his centre-half options ahead of the season-opener against St Johnstone on Saturday. County have already added Premier League men in Manchester City’s Alex Robertson and loaned Southampton’s Jake Volkins this summer.
But Mackay needs further depth in the Highlands to allow the Staggies’ own young talents to leave on loan. He is now waiting for Arsenal to give the final green light to Clarke moving to Victoria Park after Ross County held talks for the 20-year-old.
Mackay will offer Arsenal product Clarke opportunities to gain experience competing in the Premiership should he join Ross County. The Gunners prospect spent last season on loan at Oldham Athletic, where he started 30 of his 32 fourth-tier appearances.
The former England U17 international also offered one goal and one assist as the Latics ended the term in 18th. He also received eight yellow cards and played all 270 minutes of Oldham’s FA Cup campaign. However, Clarke is yet to make his senior Arsenal debut.
Arsenal will hope for Clarke to continue his rise at Ross County after Oldham loan
Arsenal will hope to see Clarke continue his rise should he join Ross County after making a successful step up at Oldham. His Boundary Park spell marked the defender’s first taste of first-team football and coped with the challenge well in a struggling side.
Clarke was a fixture of the Gunners’ U18s and U23s before joining Oldham with 32 and 20 appearances respectively. Steve Bould also saw fit to award him the captain’s armband on occasion in the PL2 and EFL Trophy.
Clarke later displayed his versatility at Oldham, featuring at right-back and right-midfield as well as his natural centre-half role. He was rarely fazed by the occasion, as well, and responded to any mistakes made. Earning vivid praise from then-manager Harry Kewell.
“Harry has been an instant success since coming in at the start of the season,” Kewell told Oldham’s club website. “For a young man, he’s a very talented individual and I’m sure the supporters have enjoyed seeing the impact he has made in the heart of defence already.”