Why Sheffield United should sell Leon Clarke amidst interest from other clubs
According to a report from Bristol Post, Sheffield United’s veteran striker Leon Clarke has emerged as a potential transfer target for fellow Championship outfit Bristol City. The report further adds that along with Lee Johnson’s Robins, there is significant interest in the 33-year-old forward from the likes of Hull City, Millwall FC and Wigan Athletic.
In lieu of this, the seasoned campaigner was dropped from the matchday squad for the Blades’ 2-2 draw against Norwich City this past week. Speaking of the striker, manager Chris Wilder said (h/t The Star):
“There’s been a few enquiries for Leon. So we left him out of the 18. There’d be no guarantee he’d have been in it anyway because I’ve got to pick right team and subs for each game.”
Sheffield United have been enjoying a solid season so far and have emerged as strong contenders for automatic promotion to the Premier League. Wilder’s Blades currently sit in the third position in the Championship table, six points behind leaders Leeds United and just three behind second-placed Norwich City.
Club captain Billy Sharp has been leading the way for them, having already netted 18 goals so far this season from 27 outings – the second highest tally in the division just behind Tammy Abraham.
Summer signing David McGoldrick has proven to be a more than able support for the aforementioned striker, having scored 10 times so far, while Mark Duffy has also chipped in with goals from the midfield.
Clarke, however, hasn’t been at his prolific best this season. The 33-year-old striker was the third highest goal-getter in the Championship last season, with 19 times in 39 games. However, he has struggled to find similar form this time out. The veteran has scored just three times in the division this term, while setting up three more in 24 matches. The Englishman has failed to add to his tally in cup competitions either.
Sharp and McGoldrick are miles ahead of Clarke in the pecking order and with the arrival of Gary Madine on loan from Cardiff City earlier this month, the striker, who will turn 34 next month, has been pushed further down in the order of preference.
Clarke has been a solid presence for the Blades since joining from Bury back in 2016. The striker has netted 31 times in 91 appearances for Wilder’s side.
However, considering how ineffective he has been this season, coupled with the fact that Sheffield United are well-equipped in the attacking department, it would only make sense that they decide to cash in on the veteran forward in the ongoing window, more so considering the fact that he will enter the final year of his deal with the club in the summer and his value is likely to drop further.