Life after Wickham, for better or worse

Jake's take
Jake’s take

For Monsieur Salut’s latest piece for ESPN FC
, the victory in Hannover took second place to the more immediate news of Connor Wickham’s move to Crystal Palace being confirmed.

I am in two minds about his departure. There is clearly a good player struggling to break out of the not-so-good one Sunderland fans have too often seen. Wickham worked hard out wide last season, a role he would not have chosen for himself, and he also suffered when used as a frontman from the same lack of viable service that had bedevilled Sunderland’s play for seasons.

So my verdict was that his transfer reflected the club’s disappointment at the player’s failure to develop as hoped, but made plenty of sense, for all concerned. And I naturally wish him well.

The reported fee of £9m is generous considering his low haul of goals and it will help Dick Advocaat and SAFC’s sporting director Lee Congerton in their rebuilding efforts. But since Advocaat rationalised the decision to sell by saying he had too many strikers, the hope must be that they will not place reliance exclusively on those who remain. Perhaps more movement out as well as in (and not just midfielders Leroy Fer and Yann M’Vila) is inevitable.

This is from the ESPN FC article:

Jermain Defoe remains his first choice and should be a good deal more effective as service improves from a strengthened midfield. But Duncan Watmore is unproven at Premier League level and fans have no reason to expect goals galore from Steven Fletcher or Danny Graham.

Have your say on what we know about the latest transfer activity, and also what we believe may be happening. Will you miss Wickham? Do you agree the remaining strikeforce needs significant strengthening? And what do you make of the likely acquisition of Fer and M’Vila?

M Salut, drawn by Matt, colouring by Jake
M Salut, drawn by Matt, colouring by Jake

11 thoughts on “Life after Wickham, for better or worse”

  1. Not a very good player any more and funny all the same. Imagine him and M’Vila in the same team? Complete nutters,

  2. Over-hyped, and unfortunately for him, and us, he bought into it. He was given super star status [ and rewards ] before he had learnt the basics of his trade. In my opinion one of the poorest investments [ and there is a long list ] made by Sunderland in recent times.

    The one saving grace is that we managed to get a decent price for him.

  3. Connor Wickham had all the attributes necessary to become one of the outstanding footballers of his generation, except the one thing that cannot be taught…heart/bottle/desire, call it what you will. Young footballers are given too much too soon, blunting the will to work hard, to improve, to learn. To paraphrase Del Boy “the world was his lobster”. It’s now his jellied eel.

  4. Whickham just wasn’t good enough,he was on god wages but never earned them.Another bad buy,glad hes gone,know Advocaat can get a good player into the team.I like the way things are going so farin player recruitment,were not buying just anybody,were getting players who can play from the start and I’m looking forward to the new season.Haway the lads!

  5. Wickam has been extremely poor as a player and could have been a remarkably expensive flop. I’m not sure why anyone would lament his departure, and if we had a half decent striker other than Defoe then nobody would give a tinker’s cuss about him leaving.

  6. “someone less talented giving it all” – I agree. Danny Graham is not at the races, but I can see his application. I feel Wickham is only slightly less disappointing that Jozy. I hope his career doesn’t freefall like JOzy’s though, have a soft spot for them both. Moving them on has been good business at the right time for both.

  7. I see a difference in attitude between someone like SKP who came late to pro football after experiencing shelf-stacking or Niall who realised late on in his career that he had not yet fulfilled his potential and Connor. He has had the money and adulation from an early age and is living the dream rather than giving everything to being the best footballer he can. Of course the newspaper pictures of him partying in the med may be misleading but you also sense that on the pitch the mind isn’t fully engaged with the job. I would rather be watching someone less talented giving it all and so for that reason I approve of the sale. I hope he wises up and fulfils his potential but I am not convinced it will happen.

    • Agreed Jon – I look at Connor Wickham who was touted as a future star and moved for big money whilst his contemporary Harry Kane was moving through the youth system at Spurs. Both are similar ages, similar build and both were farmed out on loan for substantial periods. Kane has established himself and progressed into a genuine talent. Wickham has been given the dosh and stagnated. Kane appears to have the desire to be the best he can be but I don’t get that impression with Connor. I wish him well but he’s now a rich young man in London where the temptations are even greater than in the North East. I’m with you on doubting he will ever achieve his true potential.

  8. In one way Wickham was a good investment for Ellis Short as his contribution in the Gus Poyet miracle escape ensured the megabucks Premiership survival means. Bear in mind that just before that, he had been farmed out on loan and was brought back for the run in.

    But overall he has been poor value for money in my opinion. Added to that stories about his attitude in training and a lack of application and I think this could be a good move for us – providing the transfer money and reduction in the wage bill are used effectively. Our track record in this area has not been good in recent seasons with no end of players being brought in who simply weren’t up to scratch.

    While I don’t see him as a huge loss if any new signings have the impact of Buckley, Alvarez, Bridcutt, Altidore etc. then we are no better off.

  9. Whether or not selling Wickham turns out to be a good move depends on who we replace him with. Sometimes a move is the best thing for both club and player ,and I think that CW has potential but four or is it five SAFC managers have failed in brining it out….so time to move on before his value decreases. I have a sneaky suspicion that Pardew will get more out of him than we did.

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