When Connor Wickham arrived at Sunderland as a teenager from Ipswich Town in 2011, fans were genuinely excited at the prospect of seeing a potential future England striker develop and prosper before our eyes.
Sadly, for some reason, Wickham never really hit it off here, and despite four years at Wearside, when he finally left that day in 2015 he was tinged with disappointment and a small amount of bitterness. that he never seemed to realize his own potential following a massive transfer to the Premier League.
The deal, which is said to cost around £ 9million, saw the 22-year-old striker join Alan Pardew’s Eagles with an exceptional five-year contract – not bad considering his stagnation at Wearside.
I spoke to the gaffer last week and he said all the good things about the club and I have friends here who have said some really good things to me as well.
I looked at the team before I got here and the rookies that were made, and the potential to score goals and the chances that could be created had a huge influence. I hope I can add to this talent and make the team stronger.
I think I needed a fresh start, I was four years old in the north and it was a bit of a stop-start.
Now I’m back home and can settle in and see my family a bit more and hopefully let my football do the talking.
Connor’s departure from the club meant Sunderland had until the end of the month to judiciously assess their goals and buy a striker who could add something more to our side – so, as at this point in 2021, it was clear that the main characteristics required for the replacement of Wickham were pace, power and the ability to face their opponent.
Have we understood? Well – not quite. We struggled throughout August to get someone in, before finally throwing enough money at Fabio Borini to convince him to come back … and we all know how it went.
Wickham, for me, will be remembered as a huge disappointment when it comes to his time as a Sunderland player, and I’m sure few will disagree.
In the end, we paid a hefty sum for a young player who had enormous potential, but who rarely – if ever – showed a glimpse of what he was truly capable of.
Boasting an imposing physique, the ability to overtake people with power and pace and a growing reputation, Wickham never seemed to improve as a Sunderland player, and his move to Crystal Palace ultimately paid off. to all parties.