Portsmouth confident bidding war can drive up the price for Brighton, Stoke, Bristol City and Leeds target Matt Clarke
Pompey are happy to let a bidding war play out for Matt Clarke.
The Blues feel they can sit comfortably and let the swathe of clubs vying for their prized asset drive up his price. Brighton are still leading the way in the pursuit of Clarke, who is on his way from Fratton Park this summer. The Premier League club appear to be the 22-year-old’s preferred destination, but there are now a huge number of admirers also keen on bringing in one of the game’s most promising defenders. Stoke, Hull, Leeds, Reading and Bristol City are among the other names who’ve been touted to make a bid for Clarke. The latest is nothing official has been tabled for the man who cleaned up on the Pompey player-of-the-year honours. That situation is certain to change, however, and with the volume of interest, chief executive Mark Catlin feels it leaves his club in a strong position. He said: ‘Generally, with any players it’s a supply and demand situation - the same as any other business. ‘If there’s a demand for any player and more than one entity wanting that it assists in driving the price up. ‘We’re no different and will try to maximise that. ‘If a player wants to leave and we think it will benefit the football club when talking to the manager and owners, we’ll action that. ‘But that will only be at a level we believe to be right for the football club. ‘In all aspects and every decision we take we put the football club first. ‘It’s like a painting. What’s the value of a player? It’s not anything that’s comparable. ‘Players go for x amount of millions and you think wow how was that achieved? ‘Then other players go for less than I thought. ‘It’s what someone is willing to pay at that particular time.’ Catlin feels the market is certainly there to drive up Clarke’s price, but the reality is Pompey are likely to find the boot on the other fruit when it comes to some of their recruitment. With Kenny Jackett not looking to make wholesale changes this summer, the signings he makes have to improve the existing level of the squad. The players who are likely to achieve that are the kind to have more than one club vying for their signature. Catlin added: ‘With a painting what you ideally want is multiple bidders. Then it can become a self-perpetuating upward spiral at that point. ‘That’s what you are looking for. ‘On the other side of things with players you want to bring in, you don’t want to be on the other end of it. ‘Where there’s good players involved, though, that’s what tends to happen.’