Leeds United: Whites build for future as teen striker Clarke signs first pro deal
PROMISING YOUNG striker Jack Clarke has committed his future to Leeds United by signing his first professional deal on his 17th birthday.
York-born Clarke is a product of United’s academy system and the teenager has signed a deal which initially runs until 2021.
The striker has impressed for both the club’s under-18s and under-23s this term and the young forward was also attracting interest from the Premier League.
Clarke told LUTV in May that his best position was “anywhere in the front three”
United’s director of football Victor Orta said: “We are pleased with Jack’s progress to date and we have rewarded him with a longer term contract.
“He will remain a part of the under-18s and under-23s set up in the immediate future and we will continue to monitor his progress closely.
“Our academy is famous for producing some of the best talent in the country and we are confident Jack is just one of many young, local players who can be a part of the future of our club.”
Clarke - whose representative is former Whites star Ian Harte - had been contracted to United on a two-year scholarship which he signed in May.
Harte also looks after young Leeds left back Tyler Denton who is currently on a season-long loan at Port Vale.
Harte has said of Clarke before: “He is a top talent. Remember the name.”
The deal to sign Clarke on professional terms comes one week after Leeds raided non-league York City for the signing of 16-year-old prospect Ryan Edmondson.
Edmondson signed a deal at Elland Road until 2020 and became the first of a sequence of junior signings which Leeds intend to source from the UK and closer to home in Yorkshire.
United are targeting local academy recruits as part of their wider transfer strategy and the club paid an undisclosed fee to bring Edmondson in from York.