How much could Portsmouth receive for Matt Clarke? The examples Blues can use when valuing the reported Stoke City target
It's a departure most Pompey fans are braced for this summer.
The failure to be promoted from League One likely means the Blues will lose Matt Clarke.
Championship football would have given Pompey hope of retaining Clarke – but play-off defeat to Sunderland put paid to those ambitions.
Surely The News/ Sports Mail Player of the Season surely won’t fancy another year in the third tier after underlining he's far too good for the level.
Named in the PFA League One Team of the Season and the Sky Bet Team of the Season, he'll be itching to test himself up the football ladder and test himself.
After all, team-mates Nathan Thompson, Gareth Evans and Tom Naylor reckon the Premier League awaits Clarke – the former even tipping him for England.
So the question is not whether the centre-back will leave but what sort of fee might Pompey receive?
There are examples to use as a yardstick.
When waxing lyrical about Clarke, Thompson compared him to Harry Maguire when he was a similar age.
The centre-back was playing in League One at Sheffield United five seasons ago before earning himself a move to Hull City.
The fee the Tigers shelled out was £2.5m, with Maguire penning a three-year deal.
Of course, that fee was an absolute bargain considering he went to Leicester in a £17m deal, while playing a key role when England reached the World Cup semi-finals last year.
Taking inflation into account, as well as the fact a club could still make a handsome profit in the future, Pompey will likely be holding out for more than that.
There was one valuation placed on Clarke this season.
MailOnline's Secret Scout ran the rule over the 22-year-old and published their report in February.
Whoever watched him that day was clearly impressed and slapped an estimated price tag of £3m on Clarke’s head.
Perhaps the one transfer the Blues should be factoring into their appraisal is someone well known to the club.
In fact, it’s the man partly responsible for Clarke moving to Fratton Park permanently – Adam Webster.
The Pompey academy graduate was sold to Ipswich for £750,000 in 2016 with Clarke moving as a makeweight in the opposite direction after spending the previous season on loan.
It’s fair to saythe Blues got the better end of the deal, although Webster made magnificent progress at the Tractor Boys.
His improvements resulted in a switch to Bristol City for an initial fee of £3.5m last summer but could rise to as much as £8m.
Evans played with both Webster and Clarke during the 2015-16 campaign.
And the fans’ favourite gave his assessment on who he feels is the better player.
‘If you see the way Adam Webster has gone about his career, playing week in, week out in the Championship, well, Matt’s just as good as Webby – if not better in my opinion,’ said Evans.
‘That’s not being horrible to Webby, I just really rate Clarkie that highly.’
The final example that can be assessed is Dan Burn's departure to Brighton last summer.
After helping Wigan to the League One title last term, he left for Brighton & Hove Albion for a reported fee of £5m.
Burn was aged 26 at the time and after spending the first half of this campaign back at the Latics, he's featured just three times for the Seagulls – all in the FA Cup.
Given Clarke has greater potential at 22, there's an argument he'd be worth more.
The one downside is Clarke only has 12 months remaining on his current Fratton Park deal and Pompey don’t hold as much power.
If the Blues let his contract expire, they’d still gain a fee via compensation as the defender would be under 24.
That’d be nowhere near what they could accrue this summer, however.
But it’s worth bearing in mind Webster only had a year left on his Ipswich deal before leaving.
Boss Kenny Jackett and chief executive Mark Catlin will come up with a figure and there’s a barometer that can be used.