Hibs blow as Arsenal trigger Harry Clarke clause leaving Easter Road side to source replacement

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Hibs have been dealt a blow after Arsenal opted to trigger a clause in Harry Clarke’s contract, allowing the Gunners to recall the defender and loan him out to another club.

The 21-year-old is likely to head to English Championship side Stoke City on loan for the 2022/23 campaign. Potters boss and former Easter Road winger Michael O’Neill returned to his former stamping ground last month and took in the 4-0 victory over St Johnstone, leaving when the player was substituted, and is keen to add him to his squad in time for the star of pre-season training.

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Clarke spent the first half of last season at Ross County but joined Hibs on an 18-month loan in January, with break clauses allowing Mikel Arteta’s side to recall him in summer or January 2023.

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He suffered injury before kicking a ball for Hibs and made just eight appearances, albeit impressing during his limited gametime, and was very much part of Lee Johnson’s plans for the upcoming campaign.

Clarke’s departure leaves Hibs with another body to bring in although there is a good chance work will already have been undertaken to identify a replacement in the event of Arsenal activating the clause.

The Capital club are still chasing another winger, striker, and attacking midfielder but will now need to add another defender to that shopping list, although they have already made seven signings including permanent deals for Rocky Bushiri and Ewan Henderson, who also came on loan in January.

The Hibs first-team squad returns to East Mains for pre-season training on Saturday but Clarke won’t be among them.

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