April 13, 2024

Kristjaan Speakman has addressed the Jack Clarke contract issue, and his remarks seem unsettlingly familiar.
Sunderland sporting director Kristjaan Speakman says contract talks with Jack Clarke are ‘ongoing’, despite the fact that the deadline for resolving his future is quickly approaching.

Clarke scored his 17th goal of the season at Middlesbrough, setting up Nazariy Rusyn in Sunderland’s 1-1 draw at Riverside.

He still has two and a half years left on his present contract, but talks to extend it were halted earlier this year because an agreement appeared improbable.

In that way, it has very much replicated the Ross Stewart situation this time last year, and Speakman’s message is also extremely similar.

When asked about the Jack Clarke contract talks, Speakman replied, “I don’t think it ever runs its course.”

“There are always continuous discussions. I believe everyone is currently content with where things stand, and those discussions will continue.

 

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“There are numerous factors that might influence this as time passes, but we have always maintained a very open line of communication with players and their representatives.

“We talked a lot about Ross Stewart, but it was never a question of on, off, on, off. It was just continuing, and I believe that is how it is done in the present game.”

Ultimately, while Speakman is clearly leaving the door open for a longer contract, he thinks everyone must accept that this summer will be a watershed moment in Clarke’s career.

He will have only two years left on his contract, and his market value will only fall from there. Clarke’s stock may never be higher, which means he will almost certainly have a lot of alternatives.

“Every player has their own journey,” Speakman added. “I don’t believe it’s ever necessary to sell or relocate a player; it’s simply about finding the appropriate sweet spot for everyone.

“I don’t think Jack will have to transfer in the summer, but if you don’t sign a new contract, the clock starts running down and you become a free agent.

“I’m sure Jack doesn’t want to go through that two-year period and neither do we, so it’s just about discussing a contract, seeing where those parameters are at, and then seeing where the market is at with regards to what opportunities there may be for him to move on at some point.”

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