Poll: Let the Connor Wickham bidding war commence - where might he go?

Sunderland have kick-started a bidding war for Ipswich’s teen star Connor Wickham with a bid believed to be around the �8m mark. With other top-flight clubs likely to follow suit, STUART WATSON analyses what the contenders can offer Town and the teenager.

SUNDERLAND

How much have they got to spend?

Manager Steve Bruce has got money burning a hole in his pocket following the big money sales of Darren Bent (�18-24m, Aston Villa) and Jordan Henderson (�16-20m, Liverpool).

So far very little of that �40-plus war chest has been touched, with Benin-born midfielder Stephane Sessegnon – a �6m buy from Paris St Germain in January – the only big-money signing having been made.


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Would he play?

Wickham would undoubtedly become a key player straight away for the Wearsiders.

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Fraizer Campbell missed most of last season with a cruciate knee ligament injury and could yet miss a large chunk of the forthcoming campaign due to complications with the injury. Meanwhile, Danny Wellbeck has returned to Manchester United following a season-long loan.

That just leaves Ghanian star Asamoah Gyan, who top-scored for the club with 11 goals in his debut season following a �13m switch from French club Rennes, although David N’Gog could soon be on his way from Liverpool.

How would Town benefit?

The Blues would be able to pay off any debts they still owe Sunderland for Grant Leadbitter and Carlos Edwards. And if Wickham were to be a big hit then he could well use Sunderland as a stepping stone to bigger things, thus earning Ipswich a nice sell-on fee.

Would Wickham want to go there?

Of all the clubs that are interested Sunderland probably have the least chance of silverware having finished a modest 11th place last season. It’s also the furthest he’d have to travel from home.

On the one hand there would be less national attention to deal with at The Stadium of Light, but on the other the football mad Black Cats fans would expect instant results on the pitch.

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TOTTENHAM

How much have they got to spend?

Harry Redknapp has not brought in much cash from outgoing transfers of late, but the club will have received a healthy sum of money from their run to the Champions League quarter-finals.

Would he play?

Probably not. Redknapp recently declared himself happy with his five-man strike force of Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch, Roman Pavlyuchenko, Rafael van der Vaart and Robbie Keane.

How would Town benefit?

Due to his plethora of strikers, Redknapp may agree to loan Wickham straight back to Town for a season so that he could gain more experience in the Championship before a big step up to the Premier League.

Would Wickham want to go there?

A London club would be close to home, while the chance to work with man-of-the-moment Redknapp – a possible future England boss – may be a draw.

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LIVERPOOL

How much have they got to spend?

The Merseysiders did, of course, receive a British record transfer fee of �50m for Fernando Torres in January. That money has since been spent though, with Kenny Dalglish having bought strike duo Luis Suarez (�22.8m), Andy Carroll (�35m) and Jordan Henderson (�16-20m). There seems to still be money in the pot though.

Would he play?

Dalglish’s favoured three-pronged attack would certainly boost Wickham’s chances, as would the indication that Maxi Rodriguez and David N’Gog look to be on their way out of the club. With Carroll and Suarez definite starters, that would leave Wickham competing with Dirk Kuyt and Joe Cole for the third striker role. His ability to play wide left would therefore appeal.

The Reds haven’t qualified for Europe so squad rotation isn’t such an issue.

How would Town benefit?

Town’s best bet here would be to negotiate a clause regarding a further fee following international caps. If Wickham were to be a hit at Anfield, a long England career would surely follow.

Would Wickham want to go there?

Definitely. Rumour has it that he is a big admirer of Liverpool and that they are his preferred destination should Town want to sell him.

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ARSENAL

How much have they got to spend?

A contentious point. Arsenal fans are voicing their discontent at Arsene Wenger’s reluctance to spend big in the transfer market as season-after-season goes by without a trophy. This could, however, be the summer where the Frenchman, right, decides to splash out as the Emirates Stadium is now starting to make the club money.

Would he play?

Not straight away, but there is potential for a breakthrough. Would face daunting competition from Robin van Persie, Nicklas Bendtner, Marouane Chamakh and Theo Walcott, but Arsenal need someone less tippy-tappy and more prepared to head straight for goal. Wickham could be that man.

How would Town benefit?

Again, Town could push for an instant loan back. Previous point about an international appearances clause is also applicable.

Would Wickham want to go there?

The only interested party that could offer him Champions League football next season. Regular home crowds of 60,000 would also be a draw. Wenger’s young English signings haven’t always worked out though – remember ‘Fox in the Box’ Francis Jeffers?

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