So much for no more release clauses huh. Just days after Everton triggered Idrissa Gana's stupidly low release clause, it has been reported tonight that Newcastle have met the clause in Ciaran Clark's contract too.
The Times' North East football correspondent George Caulkin broke the news on Twitter earlier this evening. He wrote:
#Nufc have met release clause in Ciaran Clark's contract at Aston Villa. Can play centre-half, left-back and holding midfielder.— George Caulkin (@CaulkinTheTimes) August 1, 2016
First things first, holding midfielder? That ship sailed a while back. But on the whole, losing Clark might not be the worst thing in the world. On his day, he's a good defender, capable of putting his body on the line to great effect. Case in point:
But as we've seen the last couple of seasons, Ciaran Clark is rarely on his day. His rashness has compromised his positioning at times, leaving Villa exposed at the back. Not just for Villa either, for that matter. Check out Belgium's third goal against Ireland at Euro 2016. Yeah, that's Clark rushing in and causing that massive gap in the defence, oops.
Even if Clark leaves, Aston Villa still have depth at CB. Firstly, Okore, Elphick and Baker (probably) are ahead of Clark in the Villa pecking order. In the next couple of seasons, Suliman and Toner will hopefully breakthrough to the first team, while Lescott and Richards could theoretically serve as stopgaps until then.
The only objection to this potential move is his destination. I'm not 100% sold on the idea that Clark could be joining our rivals, especially if he ends up being the difference between promotion and nothing. But in my opinion, it's a risk worth taking.