Matt Clarke arrives at The Hawthorns on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion following two full seasons of Sky Bet Championship football on loan at Derby County.
The 24-year-old centre-half was a key member of the Rams' defence during consecutive years on loan in the East Midlands, and won their player of the season for the 2019/20 campaign.
Born in Suffolk, Matt progressed through Ipswich Town’s academy and made his debut for the Tractor Boys as a 17-year-old in a League Cup game against Crawley Town in August 2014, before making his league debut in a Sky Bet Championship fixture against Millwall in January 2015. He would finish the 2014/15 season with four substitute appearances to his name in the league.
His next move would be on loan to Portsmouth, where he established himself as a first-team regular and clocked up 33 appearances on the way to achieving a play-off position, although they would miss out on promotion.
In the summer of 2016 he signed permanently with Pompey and developed a strong partnership in the centre of defence with Christian Burgess. Portsmouth would succeed where they had failed in the previous season and go on to win the Sky Bet League Two title, conceding just 40 goals in 46 games.
In the following term, Pompey embraced the jump up to the next level seamlessly, achieving an eighth-placed finish in Sky Bet League One, with Matt once again vital to their efforts, playing 46 games. They improved once more in the 2018/19 campaign winning the EFL Trophy and finishing in fourth place before being beaten in the League One play-off semi-final by Sunderland.
After amassing 60 appearances during the 2018/19 season, taking his tally at Portsmouth to 175 appearances in all competitions, plenty of clubs were in pursuit of Matt’s signature in the summer. He committed his future to Brighton and Hove Albion, signing a four-year deal, and a month later moved to Derby County on a season-long loan.
Matt enjoyed a successful first season on loan in the East Midlands, playing 37 times for Derby and winning their Player of the Year award as they finished 10th in the Championship.
He stayed with the Rams for a further season-long loan in the 2020/21 campaign, making 42 second-tier appearances, helping Derby retain their Championship status on the final day.
The defender is no stranger to personal accolades, having picked up three consecutive Player of the Year awards - Portsmouth (2017/18 & 2018/19) and Derby County (2019/20).