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Sunderland Replace Jordan Henderson with Connor Wickham

Photo by npower

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?

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  1. Mike

    July 4, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Wickham was always going to be bought regardless of whether Henderson was sold or not. In addition to the 20 million pounds from Liverpool the club had set aside a further 20 million during this transfer window.

  2. David

    July 2, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Buying Wickham, a forward, doesn’t do anything to replace Henderson who is a midfielder. Apples and oranges. Sunderland still need to fill the gap left by Henderson. Maybe they have someone coming through their ranks or could be they will buy someone soon. Either way, Henderson has still to be replaced.

    I think the 8 million spent on Wickham is a good shout for a youngster with potential. While these young English talent demand high transfer fees what they don’t demand is a high wage bill. Liverpool may have spent 20 million for Henderson but I doubt he is on anything more than 40-45 thousand pounds a week. A similar foreign player would have been on a much higher wage bill.

  3. blue

    July 2, 2011 at 1:10 am

    think there a few english players that are very good . Wayne rooney is one. (worth much more than what SAF paid everton) but most of them are overpriced and over-hyped

  4. Dave C

    July 1, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Don’t know much about him, but that hair cut is horrible. What is it with English kids these days? It’s like they all try to squeeze 2-3 different hair styles on to one head.

  5. Jason

    June 30, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Wickham is tall but has speed which sets him apart from the likes of strikers like Crouch. Too early to tell how he’ll develop but the signs are there that he could be a decent forward. Only time will tell. It’s an 8 million pound gamble. If it doesn’t work out at least Sunderland will only be 8 million poorer. But if he turns out to be even an average striker then it would have been worth the money. At least Sunderland didn’t pay 35 million for carroll like Liverpool did. If Carroll doesn’t come good that’s a big loss. Liverpool also spent 20 million for Henderson who is also a gamble. He was downright average in the U-21 games and looked like a schoolboy among men against the competition. Could be another loss for Liverpool.

  6. Jose

    June 30, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    It seems to me that young English prospects are hyped up by the UK press as the next great world beater only so that they can knock them down shortly thereafter as failures. I think that the the press and, to a lesser extent, the public enjoy the tearing down process more so than the building up.

  7. Andyb

    June 30, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    If the top clubs rated him like the press are rating him, they would’ve bought him. All this Arsenal and Liverpool talk is obviously bullshit. He’s not 8m worth of talent, and neither was Jordan Henderson – and he went for 20!!!!!!!! Looking forward to seeing them fail, now, and fail in the future.

  8. dominjon

    June 30, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Wickham has looked amazing at times, but he has been playing against some very poor defenders. He has all the attributes to be a good player, but there is no guarantee of him being able to step up. Cartainly I would be amazed if he did more than cameo a few times next season, play some cup games and some sub apperances. Don’t think he has the smarts to deal with premiership defenders yet, but in a couple of years, who knows.
    Henderson was a different prospect, he has two years under his belt in the premiership. 71 England caps at all levels, 3rd highest chance creater in the premiership last season. For his age he is amazingly well developed, which is why Liverpool splashed out for him. Even if he fails at Liverpool, I would expect him to be one of those guys who plays his entire career in the Premiership right up until he is 35 or so. Is that career at a big club or a mid-table club? Time will tell.

  9. Harry

    June 30, 2011 at 6:37 am

    Wickham is not a replacement for Henderson as they play in different positions. Duh!

    Wickham, like Henderson and Carroll and all the rest are just overhyped English players with little talent or skill. If these players were any good why aren’t any of the other European clubs after them? I’ll tell you why, because they’re crap.

    • Jack Tomczuk

      June 30, 2011 at 9:55 am

      In the article, I mean that Sunderland used the money they have made off Henderson to buy Wickham. I do not think this purchase would have been made had Henderson not been sold.

      Sunderland needed someone to spice up the attack after the sales of Henderson and Bent. I have seen Wickham play out on wing, and he is capable of filling that role if need be.

  10. MUFC77

    June 29, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    I’ve never seen the kid play so don’t know if hes as good as the UK press make out. Im very surprised Liverpool let Sunderland get him so easily especially for just 8m down payment. Ive read a couple of quotes from Liverpool fans today saying they would rather have had this kid instead of Andy Carroll.

    For anyone who’s seen him play is he as good as the press claims or is he just another over hyped English player.

  11. Bryan

    June 29, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    it is not a replacement, because henderson plays in a central or right sided midfield role and wickham is a striker. it is just bolstering the attacking line at Sunderland after losing Bent in January and Welbeck back to Man United after the loan move. A replacement would be Craig Gardner’s possible £5m move, which should be announced shortly.

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