Scout Report: Jack Cork
This Scout Report was originally scheduled to be published next week, but following the reports today that Blackpool have had a £750,000 bid accepted for him, we have decided to move it forward. Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you, Jack Cork...
It's looking increasingly likely that David Vaughan will leave the Seasiders this summer, and when he does, he'll obviously need replacing.
Whilst the Seasiders already have a player in a similar mould to Vaughany on their books in the shape of Ludovic Sylvestre, Vital also think that Chelsea's youngster Jack Cork would be a fitting replacement for the Welsh international.
21 year old Cork is the son of former Wimbledon player Alan Cork and has been on Chelsea's books since the age of nine.
Although he can also play in defence (having played at left back for Chelsea during a tour of America in the days of Jose Mourinho), it is in the centre midfield that Cork prefers to ply his trade.
He has captained both the youth and reserve teams at Stamford Bridge, but has failed to make a single competitive first team appearance for the club, instead gaining first team experience through a succession of loan spells.
His first loan spell was in the 2006/7 season at Bournemouth. This was followed by moves to Scunthorpe (where he cleaned up at the club's player of season awards night), Southampton, Watford, Coventry and Burnley (twice).
Following his first loan spell at Turf Moor, Cork announced his intention to leave Chelsea on a permanent deal, but that summer no club matched Chelsea's reported £2 million valuation of him (he now has just twelve months remaining on his contract, hence the subsequent drop in his valuation), so he instead signed on for a second loan spell at Burnley, this time for an entire season.
That loan spell ended earlier this month, with Cork again reiterating his desire to leave Chelsea, stating that Burnley would be his preferred destination. However, there are question marks over whether or not Burnley have the finances in position to make the move a permanent one, making the race to sign him a far wider one.
Jack has also represented England at every level from the U16s to U21s, captaining the U19s at the 2008 European Championships. He is also set to represent the U21s at the forthcoming European Championships, and should feature in their friendly against Norway on Sunday.
Cork is a player who is still maturing and developing as a footballer, but there's no doubt that he has talent that Ian Holloway could polish up. Indeed, whilst he is not as good as David Vaughan yet, there is no reason why he can't be further down the line, and he has the talent and mentality to flourish in our system and style of play.
He is solid technically, and likes to get his foot on the ball in the middle of the park and start attacks.
Perhaps what sets Jack apart from other players in his age group though is that he's very tough mentally, and comes across as being older than he actually is. He's a very mature young man who cares deeply about his career and will certainly put in the yards and hours on the training ground and pitch to improve his game. That's where he's incredibly similar to Vaughany; he works tirelessly for the team.
A word of caution though; in March he was rushed to hospital after complaining about chest pains during an England U21 game. Although medics have said that it was nothing serious (well, as chest pains go!), it is something that will have to watched carefully. Barring that though, Cork is generally a player who stays injury free.
If the Seasiders were to land Cork, it would certainly be a real statement of intent.