Arsenal have snubbed selling Harry Clarke to Rangers in a permanent January transfer and sent the young defender to the Ibrox natives’ Premiership rivals Hibernian on loan instead.
That’s according to The Scottish Sun, who report the Gers made a late play to poach Clarke before Hibs’ swoop. But the Gunners refused to do business with the Glasgow outfit, with the Premier League side issuing a firm no.
Clarke was back on the market this month after Arsenal terminated his season-long stay at Ross County. The centre-back featured in 17 league games for the Staggies, but only played six times in the 20-year-old’s natural position.
Malky Mackay instead fielded Clarke at right-back in 10 Premiership games, returning two goals and two assists. The Gunners prospect also scored one at centre-half against Rangers.
Clarke will now spend the next 18-months at Hibernian after Arsenal rejected Rangers’ bid for a permanent transfer. Hibs have struck a season-and-a-half loan for the former England U17 international, which includes break clauses this summer and next January.
Clarke thrilled Rangers but Arsenal refused transfer before Hibs loan
Rangers wanted to seal a permanent transfer with Arsenal as Clarke impressed Ibrox chiefs with his Ross County displays. Yet the Gunners had no interest in granting a January sale, so favoured Hibernian’s offer of an 18-month loan instead.
Clarke’s contract at the Emirates Stadium is set to end in 2023, but The Scottish Sun note it is unclear if it includes any options to extend. Yet it would be unlikely that Arsenal refused Rangers’ permanent transfer to then let Clarke leave for free next year.
Clarke showed he can offer a lot in defence with Ross County either at centre-half or right-back. He also earned Mackay’s praise before even playing a game for the Staggies.
“Harry is a player that I have tracked and watched for some time, having seen a lot of youth football during my time with the Scottish FA,” he said, via The National in August.
“He is a player with talent and ability. But more so, he has a tremendous attitude and one that I think is a perfect fit for our club.”