Have your say: Black Cats light the Wick

SUNDERLAND will try and tempt Connor Wickham with the lure of first team football and Ipswich Town with the prospect of a enticing cash-upfront deal and huge sell-on clause.

The Black Cats yesterday made the first move for the Town starlet with a bid rumoured to be between the �8million to �10 million mark.

But while that might fall short of Ipswich’s private valuation for the 18-year-old, believed to be around �12m, self-confessed Wickham fan Steve Bruce will hope he can convince the teenager to move to the Stadium of Light – ironically replacing former Blues favourite Darren Bent.

And the fact that the �1.5 million Ipswich paid for Michael Chopra will go straight into the Sunderland coffers, as part of an agreement with Cardiff City, could put Bruce in the prime position.

A source close to the Premier League club said: “Some might think Sunderland is an unlikely destination for someone who has the world at their feet.

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“But they can offer Wickham first team football straight away and give him a chance to establish himself in the Premier League from the off.

“Connor Wickham first came to the attention of Steve Bruce when his son Alex was at Ipswich and the Sunderland boss is on record as saying he is the best young talent in the country. And Bruce wouldn’t have made a bid unless he thought there was a good chance of getting his man.”

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Wickham, whose father Stefan now acts as his agent, is said to be in no rush to leave Portman Road amid claims he would favour a move to Liverpool if anywhere.

And Town boss Paul Jewell has equally said he is under no pressure to sell even though a move to Sunderland could have repeated benefits – though no season-long loan advocated by many supporters.

The source added: “Sunderland would probably offer a decent lump sum upfront and then a generous sell-on clause as well. In a few years time, Wickham could be sold to a bigger Premier League club for �30 or �40m so Town would win twice over.”

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