Sunderland ended their painful and miserable four-year stay in the EFL League One by winning promotion to the EFL Championship through the playoffs. The Black Cats defeated Sheffield Wednesday in the semi-finals over two legs before winning 2-0 at Wembley against Wycombe Wanderers. To survive there, they will need to strengthen their squad sufficiently, including in attacking areas. In the second half of the 2021-22 season, Sunderland signed the Tottenham Hotspur man, Jack Clarke, on a loan deal and are now keen to sign the youngster on a permanent basis.
Clarke played 17 games for Sunderland in the second half of the 2021-22 EFL League One season on a loan, being on the pitch for 998 minutes. He scored once, though xG suggested that he should have netted at least three times. He fired off 1.83 shots per 90 but only 14% of them hit the target, which placed him in the bottom quintile. The Englishman registered over 3.5 touches in the box per 90. However, his biggest strength was his dribbling ability as he attempted close to nine dribbles per 90 and completed more than three-quarters of these attempts.
Clarke provided three assists, meaning he was involved in a goal every 250 minutes. For an attacker, he was very much involved in the game, attempting just under 29 passes per 90, completing 77.7% of them. He made 3.86 progressive runs per 90, which put him in the top 3% of forwards. Clarke also delivered just over four crosses per 90, ranking him in the 94th percentile. He was placed in the top 7% or higher among attackers for long balls per 90, shot assists per 90 and through passes per 90 with values of 2.98, 1.63 and 0.88 to his name, respectively.
Even though Clarke is a versatile man who can play on both the wings, he mostly featured on the left flank for Sunderland. He contested in more than 15 offensive duels per 90, winning 58.67% of them, the latter of which ranked him in the top 5% of attackers. He was also involved in 15.3 attacking actions per 90, putting him in the 96th percentile. Judging by the 4.06 crosses per 90, the Englishman would have completed 45 crosses for the Black Cats.
Clarke generated an average xT score between 0.5 and 1.0. He even surpassed 1.5 on certain occasions. Most of his threat came in the final third and even inside the opponents’ penalty area through crosses, dribbles and dangerous passes.
The addition of Jack Clarke to Sunderland’s attacking department will, no doubt, strengthen their squad ahead of the start of the 2022-23 season, which they hope will bring survival.