Sunderland lost a major facet to their attack recently when they decided to sell Jordan Henderson to Liverpool. Today, we learned that Sunderland won the Connor Wickham sweepstakes. Wickham, formerly of Ipswich Town, is three years younger than Henderson, and he is one of the best English youngsters in the game.
Sunderland will have to pay between £8 million and £12 million for Wickham, but it is money well spent. Wickham can play as a lone striker because of his size (6 ft 3 in or 1.91m) and speed. He is versatile in that he certainly can be a force on the wing.
Many different clubs had been interested in acquiring Wickham including Liverpool and Arsenal. This is a big victory for Steve Bruce and Sunderland. Whether Wickham will use Sunderland as a stepping stone is not important at this time. The fact is that Sunderland has added an extremely talented player who could develop into a star in the Premier League.
Despite his youth, Wickham has won a number of honors in football. He was part of the Under-17 European Champions in 2010. Connor Wickham scored the winner in the final to lift England ahead of Spain by a score of 2-1. Wickham scored three goals in the tournament and was a key player for the champions.
Wickham was named as the Football League Young Player of the Year last season. It became apparent that the time had come for Wickham to test his abilities of the Premiership. The raw ability is there but will he be able to pull it together?
Steve Bruce had this to say today about his team signing Connor Wickham:
“A number of top sides have been chasing Connor for some time now, so naturally we are absolutely delighted he has chosen to come to Sunderland.
“He’s still very young, but at 6ft 3in he’s a physical presence. With his height and style of play, he will offer us a threat in front of goal and complement our existing strikers.
“We have been watching him for a while now and he is improving and developing all the time. He’s a great prospect and I’m sure our supporters will love watching him play.”
Sunderland fans will be disappointed that Jordan Henderson was sold, but this gives Sunderland supporters something new to look forward to. It is exciting to see a top prospect move to a club outside of the “Big Six.” How do you see Wickham transitioning to the Premier League with Sunderland?