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Will Connor Wickham provide value for money for Sunderland?

Premier League club Sunderland have completed the signing of Ipswich striker Connor Wickham for an initial fee of £8million, potentially rising to £12million.

The England under-21 international is highly-rated but at 18 he is still young.

Confirmation

A statement on the clubs official website read: “ Steve Bruce has made England Under 21 international Connor Wickham his latest summer signing.

Wickham was believed to be interesting Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham but it’s the Mackems who have secured the services of the youngster. It is seen as something of a coup for Steve Bruce and the North East outfit.

Money

Steve Bruce has money to spend this summer after selling striker Darren Bent to Aston Villa for £24million in January and midfielder Jordan Henderson to Liverpool for £20million earlier this summer.

That’s a considerable transfer kitty for the Sunderland boss to spend this summer. To spend £8million on the youngster could be seen as a slight gamble considering Bruce’s need for firepower now, not years down the line.

Strikers

Sunderland struggled for goals towards the end of last season after losing Bent in January. The likes of on-loan Danny Welbeck and Asamoah Gyan picked up relatively long-term injuries.

That left Steve Bruce with nobody to play up front. I seem to remember Sunderland playing with Stephane Sessegnon and Jordan Henderson as attackers at one point. Bruce’s priority had to be to strengthen his forward line.

However surely Steve Bruce can’t just rely on the youngster up front. He needs to sign other more experienced strikers to provide competition for places in the squad.

Potential

Wickham is full of potential and won last seasons Championship Young Player of the Year award. He has shown in his short Ipswich career that he has potential to become a very good player.

He has a rare physical build for a player of his age and always seems to prove a handful for opposition defences. However he is not yet a consistent goalscorer and he will have to improve that side of his game if he is to be a success in the top flight.

Regular

He will only develop his game by playing first team football in the Premier League. Maybe that was his thinking in choosing to sign for Sunderland and not waiting for a move to the likes of Liverpool or Arsenal.

Wickham is one of England’s best prospects and if he moved to a bigger club then his talent could be wasted just sitting on the bench. That sort of move would also have been bad for his England future.

Smart

The move to Sunderland is a smart move by Connor Wickham. He knows that he will gain Premier League experience without being overexposed and over hyped at one of the top clubs.

Sunderland are a relatively big club and attract good crowds. Their fans are also a special breed. If you are loyal and hardworking the Mackems fans love you. Depending on how well he does at the Stadium of Light he could also then earn a move to a bigger club.

All in all Connor Wickham moving to Sunderland could be ideal for everybody, including the player himself.

Will Connor Wickham be a good signing for Sunderland?

Thu 30 June, 2011
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