SUNDERLAND have rejected a £4million offer from West Ham for striker Connor Wickham, the Echo understands.
Wickham is one of the strikers West Ham have been considering after ex-Newcastle frontman Andy Carroll was ruled out for four months with an ankle injury.
Reports earlier today revealed the Hammers had made a formal bid - thought to be £4m - for the hero of Sunderland’s escape from relegation last season.
But Sunderland have immediately turned down that offer, with the Black Cats not looking to offload the 21-year-old.
Sunderland have been in talks with Wickham’s agent throughout the summer over tying him down to a new contract, with less than 12 months remaining on his current deal - albeit the Black Cats would be owed compensation if he left next summer, due to his age.
The club have not yet made a concrete contract offer, but head coach Gus Poyet does ideally want Wickham to be part of his plans.
But last week, Poyet admitted that if Wickham didn’t sign a new deal at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland would look to sell the 21-year-old.
Sunderland are keen to avoid a repeat of the Jack Colback situation, when the academy product left for nothing at the end of his contract this summer.
Poyet said: “For me, Connor’s situation is clear. He needs to sign a new contract or we let him go – we sell him. There is nothing in between.
“He is an asset to the football club and we paid a lot of money for him.
“Last year, he was a key part of us staying up and he was very important. But he needs to realise that the club needs to look after the interests of the football club as well.
“I suppose that, one way or another, we are going to have an agreement.”