Sunderland’s clear stance on player sales amid Burnley’s interest in ex-Leeds United man Jack Clarke

Sunderland have warned Burnley they are no longer a selling club amid ongoing speculation surrounding the future of Jack Clarke.
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Reports emerged over the weekend that Vincent Kompany’s side had lodged a third bid for the 22-year-old, claimed to be in the region of £9m.

Premier League rivals Brentford and Crystal Palace have also been linked with the winger following an impressive season at the Stadium of Light.

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The former Leeds United and Tottenham man chipped in with 23 goal contributions in all competitions, including 11 goals in 50 appearances in all competitions.

But Sunderland’s sporting director Kristjaan Speakman says it’s the club’s objective to keep hold of their key assets this summer after losing out in the Championship play-off semi-finals last term.

"The strategy is to build a winning team," Speakman said last week, as quoted by our sister paper the Sunderland Echo.

"Maybe we’ve miscommunicated a little from our side, or maybe it’s just that it’s such a change from what Sunderland have done previously, we’ve swung into ‘we’re just buying players to sell and develop.’

Clarke scored 11 times for the Black Cats last seasonClarke scored 11 times for the Black Cats last season
Clarke scored 11 times for the Black Cats last season
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"We’re trying to find the best talent to build the right team, to get promoted, and the byproduct of that will be that if we don’t get promoted and players do really, really well - then naturally you’ve got saleable assets and the whole process can move forward a little bit quicker [because you can reinvest].

"We’re looking for continuous growth and we want consistency from season to season, that’s what the best teams and clubs do."

The York-born winger began his career with Leeds, making his professional bow in 2018. A year later he would earn a move to Tottenham for a reported £10m fee.

As part of the deal taking him to North London, Clarke re-joined Leeds on loan. However, his spell was cut short by then manager José Mourinho due to a lack of playing time at Elland Road.

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Clarke would later be loaned out to QPR, Stoke City and latterly Sunderland, before signing permanently for the Black Cats last summer.

He’s represented England six times at Under-20 level, scoring once.

Clarke is described as a versatile forward who can play as a winger on either side. He is known for his pace and ability to run at opposition defenders.