Harry Clarke: Hibs suffer huge blow as Arsenal recall defender - with different loan spell planned

Arsenal have withdrawn Harry Clarke from the remainder of his loan deal with Hibs, leaving the Easter Road to hunt for a replacement defender ahead of the new campaign.

Hibs squad return for pre-season training tomorrow but the Englishman will be a no-show after his parent activated a break clause and opted to recall him. They are now set to send him out to Stoke City, in the English Championship, instead.

Clarke, who impressed to a short spell at Ross County, joined Hibs on an 18-month loan deal in January. Despite sitting out the early part of that first six months, he impressed in the eight appearances he made and was due to be a key part of new manager Lee Johnson’s plans.

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Johnson was expected to deploy the energetic right-back, who scored once for Hibs, in a more central role, but the club will now have to draft in another defender capable of filling that void.

Harry Clarke won't be back at Hibs next season.

It is a blow to the side that finished in the bottom six last season, especially as the 21-year-old had made it clear he would be open to a prolonged period in the Scottish capital.

Hibs have already made signings in the summer window, with goalkeeper David Marshall, defender Rocky Bushiri, winger Jair Tavares and forward Momodou Bojang contracted for the upcoming campaign.

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