Matt Clarke: Sheffield United set to miss out on former Derby County man, 'close' to loan move to Championship rivals West Brom

Sheffield United look set to miss out on one of their reported defensive targets this summer.

Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 12:03 pm

Matt Clarke, the former Portsmouth defender who spent the last two seasons at Derby County, had been identified as a person of interest by United’s recruitment team, with his path to the first team at parent club Brighton and Hove Albion blocked by a number of fellow centre-halves.

Clarke is comfortable on the ball as well as defensively strong and, as The Star revealed recently, has a similar statistical profile to that of Jack O’Connell, the influential Blades defender who is expected to miss the start of the season as he battles back from knee surgery.

But United look set to miss out on Clarke, who is reportedly close to joining Championship rivals West Brom on loan for the season. The Telegraph report that Clarke is set to undergo a medical at The Hawthorns today, to link up with former Barnsley manager Valérien Ismaël in the Midlands.

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United are also waiting for an answer from Kean Bryan about the contract that was offered to him last season, although the suspicion around Bramall Lane is that the longer it remains unsigned, the more unlikely it is that it ever will be.

With O’Connell injured, and the former England international Phil Jagielka also leaving the Blades in the summer when his contract expired, it leaves new boss Slavisa Jokanović short of defensive cover ahead of the new season, which starts early next month against Birmingham City at Bramall Lane.

Matt Clarke has spent two seasons on loan at Derby County (Alex Livesey/Getty Images)