Young defender Harry Clarke has joined Scottish Premiership side Hibernian FC on an unusual 18-month loan from Arsenal.
Arsenal recalled Harry Clarke early from his season-long spell at Ross County this month, with all the reports at the time that they planned to send him back out to Hibernian FC.
There was a lot of speculation about the nature of the second move, but we now have confirmation of a rather unusual loan deal.
Arsenal and Hibs confirm that Clarke has joined the Edinburgh club on an 18-month loan, with optional break clauses this summer and in January 2023.
So the Gunners will have the option to bring the defender back, but the initial plan is for him to remain in Scotland until 2023.
In a way, this helps to make sense of Arsenal recalling Clarke in the first place.
Though there were some marginal benefits to joining a club higher up in the table, it did seem a bit odd to disrupt Clarke’s loan to Ross County only to send him to another club in the same division.
But given it’s an 18-month loan, that now makes more sense. Clarke has effectively sorted next season before the summer even comes around, and he joins a team fighting closer to the top of the pile this campaign too.
Arsenal will be hoping that Clarke uses the next 18 months to continue the positive development he’s shown over the last year or two, at which point they can either bring him back or sell him on.
Clarke made 17 appearances for Ross County in the Scottish Premiership this season, scoring three goals and assisting two. He’s played a mixture of centre-back and right-back, so it will be interesting to see where he ends up with his new loan club.