SUNDERLAND have reportedly rejected a second bid of £14 million from Lazio for York-born talent Jack Clarke.

Clarke, 23, has been the subject of a myriad of transfer speculation throughout the January transfer window, with Premier League trio West Ham, Burnley and Brentford among those said to have been interested in the winger’s signature.

The former Archbishop Holgate’s pupil has two-and-a-half years left on his contract with the Wearside club, having penned a four-year-deal following their promotion from Sky Bet League One in 2022 after impressing on loan from Tottenham Hotspur.

Spurs are said to retain a 25 per cent sell-on for the highly-rated midfielder, who has scored 13 goals and contributed three assists in 29 Sky Bet Championship appearances so far this season.

After seeing an initial bid quickly rebuffed last week, our sister title The Northern Echo suggest that Maurizio Sarri’s Italian giants, who sit seventh in the Serie A table, will now turn their attentions elsewhere after the rejection.

However, with the race intensifying for Clarke’s services and no improved contract offer currently on the table, he looks increasingly likely to leave in the summer unless Sunderland are willing to risk him going into the final 18 months of his contract.

York Press: Clarke has contributed 13 goals and three assists in the Championship so far this season.Clarke has contributed 13 goals and three assists in the Championship so far this season. (Image: Joe Giddens/PA)

Football pundit Carlton Palmer told Football League World that the Black Cats were right to stand firm over his future.

“Sunderland have set the figure at €25 million, which equates to £21 million,” he said.

“Sunderland are right to stand their ground on the fee, why not? He’s a very talented player.

“If Sunderland have genuine ambitions to get into the play-offs, it’s important to keep Clarke. At 23, he’s only going to get better, he’s under contract until the summer of 2026.

“Sunderland and Clarke can revisit the situation in the summer, depending on whether Sunderland are in the Premier League or not.”

Respected Italian football journalist Fabrizio Romano also stated on X (Formerly Twitter) that the Black Cats do not consider Clarke for sale.

“Formal proposal from Italy worth €16m package has been rejected.

“Price in the summer likely to be around €30m… but #SAFC plan to keep Clarke if they get promoted.”