ONE of the worst kept secrets on the south coast was confirmed today when Brighton announced the capture of Pompey player of the season Matt Clarke.
The 22-year-old is making the 50-mile trip along the A27 becoming new Seagulls manager Graham Potter’s first signing at the Amex.
Few Pompey fans will begrudge the centre-back his big-money move to the Premier League, with the fee believed to be an initial £3.5m, rising to £5m with add-ons. He has signed a four-year deal, his former club Ipswich Town receiving 20 per cent of the transfer fee.
Clarke arrived at Fratton Park in 2016 as part of the deal that took Adam Webster to Portman Road, quickly making himself a favourite with both his defensive capability and his quality on the ball.
He played 175 times for Portsmouth scoring nine goals.
The news was, somewhat bizarrely, unofficially broken a month ago by Ronan Curtis’s mother. She tweeted: ‘Like to take this opportunity to wish Matt Clarke all the success at your new club Brighton FC, you’ve been fantastic for Portsmouth so go enjoy your time’.
Speaking today, Clarke said: “Everything here (Brighton) is set up for the club to keep progressing and that’s one of the main things which attracted me here. The training ground and stadium are set up to achieve good things and the Premier League is where every footballer wants to be.”