How much the stats say Sunderland should accept for Jack Clarke in January, if at all

(Credit: Michael Driver | MI News)

Jack Clarke may be priceless in most fans’ eyes and may even prove invaluable to Sunderland in their negotiations for a new manager, but every player has a price. So, what is Clarke’s?

The answer – according to the stats – is that he is perhaps even more valuable than six former Championship stars now shining for Premier League clubs, with all six even earning international caps for their countries.

And that means Sunderland should be looking for a fee way higher than the £10 million that has been offered to them so far.

Clarke’s stock has risen massively over the last two years with 21 goals and 19 assists in the 87 games he’s played at Sunderland.

Clarke has been heavily linked with a move away from the club since the summer after Sunderland turned down numerous bids from Premier League new boys Burnley.

The speculation hasn’t stopped though, with the former Spurs player linked with a move away in January, with various Premier League teams rumoured to be competing for Clarke’s signature.

But just how much is he worth?

We will look at Clarke’s stats over his last 46 Championship games (full Championship season) as of November 2, 2023, compared to six similar Championship players who got big money moves ranging from £18m-£34m between 2019 and 2023.


The players

The six players we will be comparing Clarke’s stats to are Joao Pedro (£34m, 2023), Nathan Tella (£23m, 2023), Keane Lewis-Potter (£19m, 2022), Jarrod Bowen (£21m, 2020), Eberechi Eze (£18m, 2020) and Dan James (£18m, 2019).

It is also worth noting that all six players were of a similar age to Clarke (22) at the time of their sale.


Combined goals and assists

During the season before the six players’ moves to the top-flight they all put up double figures in combined goals and assists.

Tella, Bowen and Eze all contributed 22 goals for their sides, whilst Pedro and Lewis-Potter hit 15 combined goals and assists.

The lowest tally on the list is Dan James who only managed 13 goal involvements before an £18m move to Manchester United back in 2019.

None of the players however, managed to equal Clarke’s tally of 23 goal involvements in his last 46 Championship games.


Expected Goals (xG)

Clarke is also outscoring his xG with only former Burnley winger Tella outscoring him in goals above xG.

Tella outscored his xG last season by a big margin of 6.7 whereas Clarke’s goals above xG came in at 4.4.

Bowen, Eze and Pedro also outscored their xG but both James and Lewis-Potter underperformed when in front of goal according to the xG metric.


Progressive carries

Clarke also ranks highly against the other six players in progressive carries per game with only James having a higher tally than the former Leeds winger.

Over the last 46 games Clarke had 187 progressive carries which equates to 3.9 per game.

James enjoyed a whopping 5.5 progressive carries per game before his move to Manchester United.

Clarke’s tally of 187 is also the highest total, but he did play more games than James and Bowen during their penultimate seasons in the Championship.



Goal contributions vs transfer fees

Pedro’s £34m move to Brighton has the highest fee of the comparable players dividing that by his 15 goals and assists for Watford last season gives a value of £2.2m per goal or assist.

This is higher than any other player with the next highest being James’ £1.38m per goal involvement.

The lowest amount paid per goal contribution was Eze, who cost Crystal Palace £818,000 per goal or assist.

The six players’ goal contributions vs transfer fee average out at £1.29m per goal or assist. If we were to multiply that number by Clarke’s 23 goal contributions that gives us a value of £29.67m.

Due to Spurs’ sell on fee in Clarke’s Sunderland contract and his level of importance to Sunderland this fee seems like a fair price.