Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce: Why I wanted to sign Connor Wickham for West Ham

Connor Wickham in action for Sunderland during their 4-1 loss at the hand of Crystal Palace. Picture by FRANK REID
Connor Wickham in action for Sunderland during their 4-1 loss at the hand of Crystal Palace. Picture by FRANK REID
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Sam Allardyce admits he wanted to sign former Sunderland striker Connor Wickham for West Ham, but couldn’t agree a fee with the Black Cats.

Wickham was a target for Allardyce in the summer of 2014 after his five goals had proved pivotal towards Sunderland’s Great Escape from relegation.

I suppose the disappointing thing for Connor is goals per game

Sam Allardyce

West Ham made a couple of bids for Wickham, but Sunderland rejected them both, before the Black Cats eventually sanctioned his £9million departure to Crystal Palace this summer, with the fit-again 22-year-old reuniting with his former employers at Selhurst Park tonight.

Allardyce told the Echo: “Yes, it was the start of last season when we couldn’t persuade Sunderland to sell him.

“He was obviously too precious for them to let him go and we went elsewhere in the end.

“But he was someone we were interested in signing, yes.

“I call him a Kevin Davies Mk2. He’s got all the raw tools.

“It’s using them to the best of his ability.

“I suppose the disappointing thing for Connor is goals per game. He knows himself that needs to get a bit better.”

At the time, then boss Gus Poyet and director of football Lee Congerton saw Wickham as a pivotal figure inSunderland’s future and he penned a big-money new four-year contract last December.

But after Wickham netted just five times in the Premier League last season – albeit he spent much of the campaign out wide – Sunderland were receptive to Palace’s summer approach.

“I got close to joining Sam at West Ham but it fell apart at the last minute,” said Wickham yesterday.

“The idea was that I would be the focal point of the team and it didn’t work out that way.”