Graham Potter challenges Matt Clarke to dislodge Shane Duffy or Lewis Dunk at Brighton following Portsmouth departure

Matt Clarke has been challenged to break into Brighton’s Premier League starting XI.

Sunday, 23rd June 2019, 4:10 pm
Updated Sunday, 23rd June 2019, 4:19 pm
Matt Clarke has moved to Brighton from Pompey. Picture: Joe Pepler

The centre-back completed his highly-expected switch to the Seagulls from Pompey on Friday.

He moved on an undisclosed fee and penned a four-year deal at Graham Potter’s side. 

Failure to be promoted from League One meant it was inevitable Clarke would depart Fratton Park this summer.

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A host of clubs were jostling for the former Ipswich man’s signature – including Championship side Stoke City.

But the 22-year-old, who made 175 appearances for Pompey following his arrival in 2015, opted for the Amex Stadium.

Clarke now faces the difficult challenge of breaking into Potter’s line-up. 

Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk are Brighton’s regular centre-back partnership.

The duo were key when the Seagulls secured promotion into the Premier League in 2016 and have helped them retain their top-flight status for the past two campaigns. 

Dan Burn and Leon Balagun are the club’s other options in central defence.

Potter is a huge admirer of Clarke and is delighted to have prised him to West Sussex.

Now the new boss has throw down the gauntlet for the cultured left-footer to dislodge either Duffy or Dunk. 

Potter told his club’s website: ‘We are pleased to welcome Matt to the club.

‘He’s an imposing central defender and had a very impressive spell with Portsmouth and has been a key player for them.

‘At 22, Matt has already played a good number of games in the EFL and we are really looking forward to working with him.

‘His challenge now is to compete with our existing centre-halves — an area where we have a lot of competition — and break into our first team.’

Ipswich will get 20 per cent from the fee Pompey receive for Clarke.