The Connor Conundrum

After scoring England’s winning goal in the European under-17 European Championships, Connor Wickham is the talk of the Town – and way, way beyond.

Reasons to sell

1. The money (Part one).

There are already reports that Spurs are willing to pay Town �5 million for Wickham and then loan him back to Ipswich for at least a season – or maybe two. With Wickham’s star even more in the ascendancy after his European Championship winning goal, Keane is in a position to drive a better bargain. It might not be out of the question to push the price up towards �10 million. With that sort of money in his transfer kitty, Keane would be able to buy three or four good quality Championship players. Even better if Town can still enjoy Wickham’s services in the short term.

2. He’s only a kid!

Despite his man mountain appearance, Wickham is only 17, not old enough to drink and only just old enough to get behind the wheel of a car. In footballing terms, he’s a baby. The game is littered with sad stories about hugely promising teenage prodigies who, for whatever reason, failed to make their expected impact. Remember Dean Bowditch? After a sensational start to his Town career, he now plies his trade with League One strugglers Yeovil. So, turning down big money at this stage would be a gamble for Keane. Should he cash in while the going is good?

3. The boy’s career (Part one)

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A move to a big club – Spurs, Manchester Utd, wherever – would see Wickham rubbing shoulders with the best. Every day in training, he would see the cream of English football showing off their skills. It would be a challenge for him to shine in those circumstances, so he would be forced to raise his game.

Reasons not to sell

1. Premier ambitions.

Owner Marcus Evans has stated many times that his ambition is to see Ipswich Town return to the Premier League. Roy Keane, and all the fans, feel the same. To do that, Town need quality players. Connor Wickham, albeit raw, is clearly one of them. What kind of message would selling him send?

2. The money (Part two).

With massively wealthy Evans at the helm, Town don’t need the money like they used to. Sure, a sum approaching �10 million would be very handy, but it would smack of short-term thinking, which isn’t what Town need right now.

3. The boy’s career (Part two).

If Wickham did land a big-move to a top Premier League club, he would instantly go from being local superstar to just one of many massively promising youngsters. How many games would be play for Spurs next season? Look at Giovanni dos Santos, who sparkled during his loan spell at Portman Road last year and shone for Mexico against England last week. He barely got a kick for Spurs last season. All the top Premier League clubs have massive squads, and Wickham could get lost.

4. Think long term.

Assuming Wickham stays with Town, and assuming he progresses in the way all Ipswich fans hope he will, how much will he be worth in two or three years time? The thought of a 20-year-old Connor Wickham is truly awesome. It is not too fanciful to suggest that he is England’s most exciting prospect since Wayne Rooney. We could be talking a price tag of �20m by then.

5. The fans!

Last, but certainly not least, let’s think about the long-suffering Ipswich fans. Life hasn’t exactly been a bowl of roses in recent seasons. At long last, Ipswich have unearthed a truly thrilling prospect. The last thing Town fans want is to see him sold off after they’ve only had the merest glimpse of his talent. Roy Keane has admitted that he would be “lynched’’ if he let Wickham go. He’s right, and Keane has every reason to be grateful to the Ipswich supporters for their patience during a dreadful first season in charge. That might change if he lets Wickham go.

The verdict: Don’t sell him, Roy, for our sake – and yours!

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