England under-21 international Connor Wickham joined Crystal Palace from Sunderland for a fee of around £9million.
The 22-year-old has signed a five-year contract with the Eagles, but the move could be seen as a gamble by the Eagles.
When Wickham moved to the Black Cats in 2011 from Ipswich for a fee in the region of £8million he was regarded as one of the most promising young English players of the time.
He was being linked with moves to the likes of Tottenham and Liverpool.
However, it was the side from the north east who pulled off something of coup by signing the teenage striker. Since the move he has struggled to justify the relatively big price tag.
The youngster has scored just 15 goals in 91 appearances for the Black Cats and scored just six goals for the north east last season.
One of the reasons for that low scoring could be that he has often been employed on the flanks, which has obviously put him further away from goal and restricted his opportunities to score.
However, one of the main claims of the Sunderland fans is that the striker has a poor attitude and did not work hard enough for the team.
Wickham does have potential, as he showed in scoring five goals in three games towards the end of the 2013/14 season. The goals proved to be the key to the Black Cats staying in the top-flight and the way he scored them showcased Wickham at his best.
He showed himself to be a power striker who is capable of causing any defence problems when he is on form. That run also proved that the striker could find the net in the Premier League.
He seems to have some of the attributes to become a very good striker at the top level of football. He is big and strong, which are good attributes for a striker in the Premier League. He just has to harnesses those attributes to the best of his ability and it seems improve his attitude slightly.
At 22-years-old he still has time to develop into a far better player and justify the hype which seemed to engulf him during the early days of his career.
It seems strange that Palace boss Alan Pardew has decided to pay £9million for a striker when he already has so many strikers in his squad. The fee is a big one for Palace, who are not especially accustomed to spending big amounts of money.
Palace already had Glenn Murray, Marouane Chamakh, Dwight Gayle and Fraizer Campbell in their squad prior to the summer transfer window opening. Pardew then went out and brought in highly-rated youngster Patrick Bamford on-loan from Chelsea before signing Wickham.
The 22-year-old faces stiff competition to get into the squad, never mind the starting line-up at Palace. Murray enjoyed a good run of form last season, while Gayle is still regarded as a player with plenty of potential to fulfil.
Then there is Campbell and Chamakh, who will also be hoping to challenge for a first team starting place this season. If Wickham is to find his form and start fulfilling his potential then he has to be starting games on a regular basis and he may not do that Palace this season.
The majority of Sunderland fans seem to be happy that the club have offloaded the youngster, which is not usually a good sign for the buying club. If fans are sorry to see a player leave it means that he has given his all for the team, or looked like being a good player in the future.
Unfortunately for the striker it seems that the Black Cats fans are glad to see the back of the striker and are looking forward to the club reinvesting the transfer free.
For me Alan Pardew has made some good moves in the transfer market by bringing in French midfielder Yohan Cabaye and the aforementioned Bamford. Even the move to sign promising ‘keeper Alex McCarthy could be a shrewd one by the former-Newcastle boss.
However, like some Palace fans I am not so sure that this is a good move for the Eagles. Hopefully for Palace’s sake Wickham goes on to prove me wrong, but I will not be holding my breath for the striker to justify his transfer fee.
Is Connor Wickham a good signing for Crystal Palace?
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