The Hammers have recently been associated with Black Cats winger Jack Clarke, sparking contemplation on a rather unconventional analogy involving the hypothetical scenario of losing one’s right arm. The looming prospect of Clarke leaving Sunderland, akin to prying a Terry’s chocolate orange from a tenacious Golden Retriever, hangs over the club this month. Despite the awareness that a player of Clarke’s evident talent is too buoyant for the Championship, the inherent self-preservation instinct among Mackems makes the idea of him staying on Wearside seemingly eternal.

Clarke’s performance this season, boasting 13 goals in 27 league appearances for Sunderland, serves as a testament to his pivotal role. The winger’s influence is starkly evident, with Sunderland often struggling to secure victories when he doesn’t perform. Clarke has contributed significantly to his team’s away goals, netting 11 out of 15 since the beginning of the campaign, a feat unmatched by any other player in the red and white shirt since September.

The tactical stagnation observed during Tony Mowbray’s tenure persists under Michael Beale, raising the stakes for Clarke’s potential departure. Premier League clubs, including West Ham, Brentford, and Crystal Palace, express keen interest in acquiring Clarke’s services before the end of January. While no rational Mackem wishes to see Clarke leave, there’s an underlying sense of inevitability about his departure, prompting discussions about potential gains for Sunderland.

Amid this speculation, the pressing need for a proficient striker takes center stage for Sunderland. With three out of four current strikers yet to score this season, the addition of a new center forward becomes a high-priority agenda for many supporters. Divin Mubama, a 19-year-old prospect from West Ham, emerges as a prominent name in these discussions, aligning with Sunderland’s recruitment model under Kristjaan Speakman. Mubama, a product of a Premier League academy system, nearing the end of his current deal in East London, represents a potential solution to Sunderland’s striking woes, as demonstrated by previous successful signings from West Ham’s academy.

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