Over the course of two legs, Sunderland edged Portsmouth out in the League One play-off semi-finals. The Black Cats have set up a date with either Charlton Athletic or Doncaster Rovers at Wembley.
But after a long season, Portsmouth have been consigned to another year in the third-tier. And consequently, they could lose star man Matt Clarke.
Back in March, Clarke was linked with a £4m move to Leeds United or Stoke City (as per The Times). And Portsmouth’s play-off failure could prompt Leeds and Stoke into action.
Clarke has just won Portsmouth’s Player of the Year accolade. He has consistently proven his worth at Pompey, having won the Players’ Player of the Season in 2017/18.
Alongside Jack Whatmough or Christian Burgess, the left-footed defender has been a rock for Portsmouth at the back. He will be sorely missed on the south coast if he leaves.
But the lure of the Championship might be too tempting for Clarke. Leeds and Stoke are both big clubs who will be hoping to push for promotion next season.
The 22-year-old has racked up nearly 180 senior appearances so far, despite his age. This means he can offer the perfect blend of youth and experience.
Clarke is comfortable on the ball and often charges out of defence on runs down the left flank. But his main attributes are aerial prowess, tough tackling and commitment.
Looking to the long-term future, Clarke would be a shrewd signing for Leeds. The Whites have had play-off disappointment of their own but should poach Clarke this summer.