Jake Clarke-Salter: What he brings, where he'll fit in and what he says about Sunderland's plans

Chris Coleman is expected to seal his first signing of the January window on Monday.

Saturday, 6th January 2018, 6:06 pm
Updated Saturday, 6th January 2018, 6:10 pm
Clarke-Salter in FA Youth Cup action back in 2014

Chelsea youngster Jake Clarke-Salter, a centre-back who was a key part of the England U20 World Cup winning side in the summer, will be the first of what Coleman hopes is a clutch of loan signings.

The Black Cats had hoped to complete a deal in time for Clarke-Salter to play against Middlesbrough but with Antonio Conte keen to give a number of his senior players a rest, the move was delayed for the 20-year-old to take his place on the bench against Norwich City.

He will be available to play against Cardiff City and it would be no surprise to see him go straight into the XI.

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A number of Championship clubs had been keen on a loan in the summer but as Conte struggled to make additions to his Chelsea squad, a move was torpedoed. Since then, Ethan Ampadu has emerged as a genuine first team contender and so the time has come for Clarke-Salter to get regular games.

At Sunderland, he will certainly get them.

The move suggests that Chris Coleman does indeed see three at the back as the formation to stick with as his tenure develops. Adam Matthews and Bryan Oviedo have shown promise in the wing-back areas while further forward, wingers Aiden McGeady and Callum McManaman have struggled. Even when they have played, they have been pushed infield to accommodate for the strengthened defence.

Bolstering his centre-back options reduces the need for the likes of Matthews or Billy Jones to stand in when injuries strike, and crucially, adds some more mobility to a back-line that has been sluggish in the extreme at times.

Now, Coleman can field two youthful options either side of John O'Shea or Marc Wilson.

Chelsea's youth sides have been the best in the country for years now and Clarke-Salter has been part of three FA Youth Cup winning sides. He will be well drilled in bringing the ball out from the back and in that sense can hopefully add a bit of composure that has been lacking in Coleman's tenure so far.

Coleman's reputation for playing that style of football and his reputation for developing, as well as protecting, young talent should work in his favour as he convinces top clubs to send their talent to Wearside.

How he will fare in the heat of a Championship remains to be seen but he has long been seen as a potential leader in the ranks at Stamford Bridge.

After his debut, John Terry said: "Jake has a great attitude.

"I remember watching him a couple of years ago being in control of the game and a really vocal player. He reminds me a bit of myself.

"(Jake) is doing great and I hope he goes on to take my position and get in the first team."

It is in players like Clarke-Salter that Coleman will put his trust.

Attacking reinforcements are now an absolute necessity and the Sunderland boss will continue to try and extract young talent from Premier League sides.

It is undoubtedly a gamble but one that financially, the Black Cats have no choice but to take.