The Bournemouth man’s deal with the Saddlers was up on January 5 but behind the scenes the club were working hard to extend his stay until the end of the season.
It then came as a surprise when the 20-year-old returned to his parent club and joined League Two rivals Newport County on January 8.
Although Walsall were not paying any of Scrimshaw’s wages, the forward had settled in well with his team-mates and was highly thought of by Clarke.
Now, the manager is eager to move on from the situation – but not before expressing his disappointment.
“Nothing surprises me in football, it’s the way of the world,” Clarke said. “I know he lives south of the country on the Isle of Wight – Newport is still a fair distance away.
“These things happen in football. We’d have liked to have kept him but we also weren’t paying any financial obligation for him.
“We wish him all the best, but certainly not in the game against us.
“He’s a good lad with a good attitude. A young prospect who still has a lot of work to do, but we enjoyed him while he had his time here.”
When asked if Scrimshaw’s decision to leave came out of the blue, Clarke added: “My gut feeling was, leading up to the last week and speaking to his agent, that I thought there might be something in the pipeline.
“These things happen and when he’s not our player it can always happen. We’re a bit disappointed but we have to adapt, there’s no point dwelling on it.
“We would have liked to him to stay until the end of the season but that’s not the case and we move on.”
Work has already begun to add more depth to the squad following Scrimshaw’s departure and Rory Holden’s season-ending knee injury.
Villa youngster Tyreik Wright became the first signing of the window when he joined on-loan until the end of the season.
“He’ll give us options in a 4-3-3 and 4-4-2 on the right coming inside on his left foot,” Clarke added.
“He can also play on the left side. It gives us another wide option.
“He’s a young boy and it’s his first loan but we’d like to thank Villa for allowing us to take one of their youngsters.”