Portsmouth defender’s key role in £125m transfer saga involving Brighton’s Lewis Dunk, Leicester’s Harry Maguire and Manchester City

Pompey's Matt Clarke. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey's Matt Clarke. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Matt Clarke has emerged as a central figure in a sensational £125m transfer frenzy.

And the summer moves of Leicester defender Harry Maguire and Brighton’s Lewis Dunk look set to significantly boost the transfer fee generated by the Pompey defender’s exit.

Dunk’s future at the Amex Stadium holds the key to in-demand Clarke completing a move to the Seagulls.

The 27-year-old is being eyed as a successor to Maguire, who is being touted for a world-record breaking move to Manchester City.

The Foxes have slapped a jaw-dropping £90m valuation on the England powerhouse, which would eclipse the £75m Liverpool paid for Virgil van Dijk last year.

With Dunk contracted until 2023 at Brighton, it will take a significant portion of that fee to take him away from the south coast.

And that leaves Pompey in a strong position to cash in on the man new Brighton boss Graham Potter sees as Dunk’s successor.

Clarke is being linked with a swathe of clubs this summer including Leeds, Hull and Reading.

But it’s Brighton who are offering the Blues’ prized asset a route directly into the Premier League.

Potter has a long-held interest in Clarke and sees the ex-Ipswich ace as being able to make an immediate impact at the highest level.

The former Swansea manager can call already call on the services of the likes of Shane Duffy, Dan Burn and Leon Balogun in the middle of defence, but views the Pompey talent as a regular starter in the Premier League.

It is now is a case of waiting for the first domino to drop, setting off an amazing chain reaction which will provide a major boost to Kenny Jackett’s transfer war chest this summer.

Pompey are resigned to the fact Clarke has played his last game for the club, after cleaning up on last season’s player-of-the-year honours.

But they are relaxed about how the scenario unfolds, with so many suitors now vying for his services.

Even with a year remaining on his existing deal, the volume of interest in the man who made 60 appearances last term puts the Blues in a strong position to cash in.

They will have to hand Ipswich a slice of the fee generated, with his former club due 20 per cent of any profit generated by his exit.