Chelsea's England U20 defender Jake Clarke-Salter is set to seal a loan move to Sunderland for the rest of the season and become Chris Coleman's first signing since taking charge of the troubled Black Cats.
Clarke-Salter is set to be named in the Chelsea FA Cup squad at Norwich tomorrow and fans on Wearside can check out the prospective signing for themselves from 17.30 with the Third Round tie at Carrow Road beaming live on BT Sport 2.
Chris Coleman set to make his first signing as Sunderland boss by Monday. Understand it’s a centre-back.— Keith Downie (@SkySports_Keith) January 5, 2018
Certainly word spread today that Sunderland's first swoop of the window has been delayed with speculation mounting that the player in question is required to turn out for their parent club in the Cup this weekend. But who is he?
Clarke-Salter made his professional debut for Chelsea in April 2016 and spent last season on loan at Bristol Rovers. The 20-year-old made twelve appearances in League One but also continued to play for the Blues U23 side last term.
Indeed Clarke-Salter was in the Chelsea side which drew 2-2 with Sunderland’s Premier League 2 team in September but has found his game time limited lately as he’s spent most weekends with the senior set-up.
The Carshalton native has featured in the EFL Trophy and the EFL Cup this season and Antonio Conte is said to be keen to send him out on loan for the remainder of this campaign. Clarke-Salter has also been linked with a January move to Nottingham Forest but it seems a decent bet to suspect Sunderland is his most likely destination early next week.
Standing at 6ft 1in, Clarke-Salter was part of the England squad which won the U20 World Cup last year. A powerful and athletic defender, the youngster featured for Chelsea in each of their UEFA Youth League games last season and has helped the Stamford Bridge outfit win the FA Youth Cup three times.
Clarke-Salter spent last summer on tour with Conte’s senior squad and has received praise from Chelsea stalwart John Terry, who likened his vocal style to that of his own during his playing days.
Sunderland’s back-line has been one of the leakiest in the Championship this season, and despite tightening up in recent weeks under Chris Coleman, the Black Cats defence is still capable of throwing a game away without warning.
The ageing legs of John O’Shea continue to be the mainstay of the Sunderland rear guard but with Coleman tending to operate with three central defenders, acquiring additional options this month will be a priority. Tyias Browning - on loan from Everton - has generally impressed but summer signing Marc Wilson has been in and out of the side with continuing fitness issues.
Clarke-Salters’ arrival may well mean the end of the other Toffees defender on loan at the Stadium of Light though with Brendan Galloway widely expected to return to Goodison Park.