Sheffield United path to Jake Clarke-Salter paved as Chelsea man officially becomes free agent

Sheffield United’s possible path to signing Jake Clarke-Salter this summer has been paved after the Chelsea released the defender, ending his 16-year association with the Blues.

Friday, 10th June 2022, 4:02 pm

The central defender, who plays on the left, has been mentioned amongst United’s recruitment team and manager Paul Heckingbottom, who has undertaken a reprofiling exercise on his squad after United’s play-off disappointment at the back end of last season.

United are short of options at left centre-half, with Ben Davies returning to Liverpool after the expiry of his loan and Jack O’Connell still continuing his rehabilitation after two knee operations. United have resolved to keep a watching brief on Davies’ situation, with the former Preston North End defender expected to be made available at Anfield this summer, but the financial cost of any deal may prove difficult for the Blades.

lliman Ndiaye of Sheffield United is held up by Jake Clarke-Salter of Coventry City: Ashley Crowden / Sportimage

Clarke-Salter’s appeal is obvious after becoming a free agent, with Chelsea electing against exercising their option in his contract in order for him to enjoy a fresh start at a new club. The defender spent last season on loan at Coventry City, who have predictably been linked with bringing him back to the Midlands on a permanent basis, while United's Yorkshire rivals Leeds and PSV Eindhoven have also been mentioned in connection with the defender.

"Jake Clarke-Salter’s 16-year association with the club has also come to an end,” read a statement from Chelsea, who have also released Andreas Christensen, Danny Drinkwater and Charly Musonda after Antonio Rüdiger’s free-transfer move to Real Madrid was confirmed.

"The Surrey-born defender is a graduate of our academy, having progressed through the ranks from the Under-9 age group to make his senior debut at the age of 18 in a Premier League game away at Aston Villa in April 2016.

"During his time in the Academy, he won UEFA Youth League and FA Youth Cup titles, joining a select group of individuals with three winners medals in the latter competition.

"We thank Danny, Charly and Jake for their service and wish them all the best for the future.”