Harry Clarke: Ross County confirm Arsenal recall ahead of Hibs move - where will he fit at Easter Road

Ross County have confirmed the departure of Hibs target Harry Clarke.

Harry Clarke has been recalled by Arsenal ahead of a rumoured move to Hibs. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Harry Clarke has been recalled by Arsenal ahead of a rumoured move to Hibs. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

Arsenal activated the recall option on the defender’s loan deal at the Staggies on Sunday evening.

The 20-year-old has been strongly linked with a switch to Easter Road and could become Shaun Maloney’s first signing since replacing Jack Ross as Hibs boss.

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Clarke emerged as a key player for County, performing well at both right-back and centre-back, scoring three goals in 17 appearances, including a sublime finish in a 3-0 win over Dundee.

Staggies boss Malky Mackay told the club's website: “Although we are disappointed to be losing Harry, I would like to thank him for his contribution in the last six months and I think he has become an even more rounded player in that time.

“I hope he feels his time spent here in Dingwall has been enjoyable and we would like to wish him well in his career going forward.”

Where does he fit at Hibs?

While many of Clarke’s most impressive performances for Ross County came at right-back where he showed his dynamism up and down the flank, he will likely fit into the right-sided centre-back position in Maloney’s 3-4-3 system.

He arrived in Dingwall as a centre-back so it is a role he will be suited to. He is not too dissimilar to Porteous in his willingness to engage opponents, enjoying the combative side of the game.

Clarke wins more than 61 per cent of his aerial duels – below Paul Hanlon, Ryan Porteous and Lewis Stevenson – but is top 15 in the league at winning headers in his own box.

County boss Mackay talked about him becoming a more rounded player and he has improved over his time with his confidence growing on the ball.

In the recent 3-1 win at Dundee United, Porteous showed the importance of using the ball well as the right-sided centre-back but he will be missing for the next three matches, increasing the importance of bringing in another centre-back.

The position requires someone who is willing to get on the ball as a centre-back and be progressive with their passing. Only Blair Spittal averaged more passes and more final third entries than Clarke for County in the league.

He will progress it with both his passing and carrying it forward.

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