Tuesday’s curtailment of the League One season means the Saddlers are now waiting to discover when next season might begin.
Only then will the club be able to more accurately gauge the financial impact of the shutdown and Clarke believes it could be up to 18 months before the sport returns to anything like normal.
He said: “We don’t know when we’re going to restart so the finances are very difficult in terms of what my final budget may be.
“I haven’t been one to make those decisions too early so recruitment goes out the window.
“They’ll be a lot of clubs going for younger players, it will take a good 12 to 18 months for it to settle down.”
Walsall published their released and retained list within hours of Tuesday’s curtailment and Clarke, who carried out the largest squad overhaul in the EFL last summer, is entering the close season with 14 players already on the books.
Contract offers have been made to Tom Leak, Callum Cockerill-Mollett and Danny Guthrie.
EFL chairman Rick Parry has claimed clubs are facing a collective loss of around £200million by September.
Clarke continued: “It’s a good chance for football to reset. The Premier League get a lot of stick but if they can help out the clubs I think they will.
“It’s about everyone coming together, these football clubs are about community.
“You have the big guns at the top level but there’s so many clubs at the lower levels that are big communities.
“We lost Bury last year, we don’t want to be losing football clubs through this and hopefully there’s a lot of help along the way.”