Connor Wickham’s imminent move to Crystal Palace has followed a week of negotiations with Sunderland.
Wickham, who only penned a new four-year contract with Sunderland last December, is due to discuss personal terms with Palace today after the Black Cats accepted a fee for the 22-year-old.
Wickham’s departure would free up a sizeable chunk of wages for Sunderland to re-invest, while also boosting Dick Advocaat’s transfer kitty
It is understood that Palace first approached Sunderland earlier this week with an offer which was turned down.
Sunderland made their stance clear on Wickham, but it is thought Palace then met the asking price with a follow-up bid for the England Under-21 international and the Black Cats sanctioned his departure.
Club sources are keeping tight-lipped on the size of the fee – rumoured to be around the £10million mark – but it is not thought they have made a loss on the £8m invested in the summer of 2011.
Wickham’s departure would free up a sizeable chunk of wages for Sunderland to re-invest, while also boosting Dick Advocaat’s transfer kitty, with the Dutchman still keen to bring in another couple of players before the end of the transfer window.
Advocaat has been looking to boost his options up front, yet, with four frontmen already on the books, Sunderland have faced the problem of needing to offload one of the quartet to make room in the squad.
Wickham had been considered the least likely to depart after being handed a lucrative new contract last December after the club had rejected two offers from West Ham – the highest of which was around £6m.
But while Sunderland had hoped the 22-year-old would kick-on after his contribution to the Great Escape two season ago, there were signs of frustration from Advocaat about the England Under-21 international’s application.
Wickham, who has missed Sunderland’s last two pre-season outings with a knock sustained in Canada last week, had found himself in a deeper role at the end of last season and was dragged off at half-time in the 0-0 draw at Arsenal which guaranteed the club’s survival.
Even if Wickham’s move goes through, one of Steven Fletcher or Danny Graham – both in the final 12 months of their contracts – could still depart this summer.
But Sunderland will now have a hefty sum to reinvest in their forward line, to boost an attack which was the joint worst in the Premier League last season.