Spurs linked to �5m Connor bid

THE summer scramble to poach Ipswich Town’s wonder kid, Connor Wickham, has already started.

Town boss Roy Keane admitted last week that he would be “lynched” if Wickham was to leave Portman Road, and the odds are still in favour of the 17-year-old wearing a Town shirt next season.

However, Tottenham could satisfy all parties if their reported �5m bid to sign Wickham, and then promptly loan him back to Town for the start of next season, was to be accepted.

Yet Town are in no hurry to sell their prize asset, especially as he has only just set out on his professional career, combined with the knowledge that Tottenham are only one of a host of top-flight clubs tracking the progress of the England under-17 international.

That was clearly the case on Sunday, where a huge number of scouts were in attendance for Town’s final game of the season against Sheffield United. Keane’s men were thumped 3-0, but Wickham was again Town’s man of the match, despite spending most of the afternoon as a lone striker.

The likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Aston Villa and Sunderland have all been linked with the big centre-forward in recent months, although it seems to be Spurs boss Harry Redknapp who is currently leading the chase.

In his weekly Press conference, before the Sheffield United game, Keane admitted that he was going to face a summer of struggle to keep his best players at Portman Road. He admitted that there had already been interest in his skipper, Jon Walters, but would neither confirm nor deny that a bid had already been lodged for Wickham.

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One thing is for sure – Keane will not want to sell Wickham.

Keane insisted: “One of my biggest challenges is going to be keeping our best players at the football club, because there has been interest in them.”

Although Keane has not referred to specific interest in Wickham, he did imply that Premier League managers would be targeting his big-name player.

A product of Town’s Academy, Wickham became the youngest player to make his senior Town debut just over a year ago, when appearing as a substitute against Doncaster Rovers aged just 16 years and 11 days.

He could not sign his first professional contract until his 17th birthday, when he chose to remain at Ipswich. On signing his two-year deal, he insisted that he had never even considered moving to another club.

Wickham ended the season with a bang, scoring four goals in his last nine appearances, to suggest even more exciting times ahead.

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