There was much talk in pre-season as to whether Connor Wickham could fulfil his potential at Sunderland. Now it’s a case of whether he can fulfil that potential at Crystal Palace.
Connor Wickham Signs For Crystal Palace From Sunderland
On Thursday it was reported that Sunderland accepted a bid from Crystal Palace for the striker. The fee was unconfirmed at this stage but rumours circulated that it was at least the £8 million that Sunderland had paid Ipswich Town four years ago to secure the services of one of England’s brightest prospects at the time. Reports coming out of Sunderland of late have indicated that even though transfer funds are available, the wage bill is needed to be reduced in order to bring in new players. Wickham’s reported wage of £60k per week off that bill will certainly help.
A quick deal seemed to be in place with Wickham heading down south to discuss personal terms and have a fitness test. After agreeing a five year deal, 22-year-old Wickham put pen to paper to complete an initial £9 million switch from Sunderland — a fee which they could not refuse.
Connor Wickham’s potential has never been in doubt, but his ability to fulfil that potential however, has. It was only last December that Wickham signed a new four-year contract at Sunderland, with all at the club hoping that he could move up a gear on Wearside.
He proved during Sunderland’s great escape season that he can find the net against the top teams and at 6’2, 198 lbs, he has the build to unsettle most defenders. Unfortunately, there were many times when he didn’t use these strengths as effectively as he could have. Wickham also spent many games helping the team out by playing on the left side of midfield, so his goal-to-game ratio of 15 goals in 91 games should reflect this if being fair. If Wickham can get a run of games up front at Palace and with the attacking threat that they have, especially in wide areas, then he may just find a way to becoming a good Premier League striker.
Most at Sunderland will wish Connor well at his new club, however some will feel disappointed that it just didn’t work out for him at the Stadium of Light. Maybe it was a case, as it sometimes is, of right person, right place, wrong time. Fans at Selhurst Park will be hoping that it is money well spent on the young Englishman. Time will tell.