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Newcastle United Opinion: Magpies should ship Ciaran Clark out on loan

Back last summer, a report from Chronicle Live claimed that Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez wasn’t ready to sanction a loan deal for centre-back Ciaran Clark, with Aston Villa reportedly interested in securing the services of the Irishman.

As a result, Clark stayed on at Tyneside for the ongoing season but Benitez hasn’t been able to justify his decision with his team selection.

Newcastle invested heavily to bolster their defensive options last summer, with the Magpies bringing in the likes of Federico Fernandez and Fabian Schar to add depth and solidity to their backline.

Florian Lejeune started the season on the treatment table but the Frenchman has featured on 10 occasions in the Premier League since returning from a long-term injury.

Fabian Schar has proven himself to be a massive bargain signing for the club while Fernandez and club-captain Jamaal Lascelles have been very consistent with their performances at the back.

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Solidity at the back has been one of the marked features of Newcastle’s Premier League campaign this time around and Benitez has done well to get the best out of his defenders by using a back three system. One player, though, who hasn’t had much joy is none other than Ciaran Clark.

One might feel that Benitez has been very harsh on Clark, as the Irishman has found himself warming the bench more often than not, despite putting in some solid performances.

Clark has only made 11 appearances in the Premier League this term, scoring thrice. Truth be told, he has been as impressive as any other defender in the squad but Benitez has not fielded him regularly for some unknown reason.

To go with his three goals, the 29-year-old has averaged 3.9 aerial duels, 1.8 tackles, 1.1 interceptions and 5.2 clearances per game in the Premier League this season, figures which are good enough to prompt the manager to field him every week.

Benitez, though, is not the only one to blame for Clark’s prolonged absence from the first-team. With his ability to fill in at both centre-back and left-back, Clark is a quality player with well-rounded attributes. His lack of regular minutes just points to the abundance of depth at the back that the Magpies already have in their ranks.

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Now, Newcastle need to make a call on the Irishman’s future come the end of the season. Still only 29, Clarke is performing at the peak of his powers and he wouldn’t want to just stick around at Tyneside doing next to nothing.

The Magpies, on the other hand, should not hesitate to ship Clarke out on loan for the upcoming season if they feel that he is not in their plans for the foreseeable future.

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Given that the likes of Schar, Fernandez, Lascelles and Lejeune have all done well, Benitez is unlikely to find a substantial role for Clark next season.

The Irishman will not be short of potential suitors and the Magpies can certainly reduce their wage bills by getting him off their books. Hence, a loan move away from Tyneside would be ideal for all parties involved.

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