Connor Wickham signed a new deal at Sunderland just last December, so news of his move to Crystal Palace was a surprise for many.
However, not too many Sunderland fans will sorry to be seeing the back of the striker. The end of his Wearside career didn’t end badly; he didn’t really do anything wrong and there are no sour grapes, but many of the Stadium of Light faithful will be saying good riddance.
At 6ft"4" Wickham is an obvious target man, but it often pained Sunderland fans to see him get bullied off the ball so easily. He struggled to hold the ball up and made little impact during the 2014-2015 season.
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Admittedly, Gus Poyet played him out a wide a lot and that is not his natural position, but that is by no means to blame for his insignificance at Sunderland.
Wickham scored just 15 goals in 91 appearances at Sunderland and the club could not afford to wait any longer for the 22-year-old to develop his potential. The forward will always have talent; he showed glimpses of it when he helped Sunderland secure Premier League survival.
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Many Black Cats fans thought that his form showed during the end of the 2014/15 campaign was a sign of things to come, but unfortunately they were wrong. Sunderland fans will always be grateful to Wickham for his part in the 'Great Escape', but there won’t be too much lost in his transfer to Crystal Palace.
At 22, Wickham is still very young and many people forget that, but unless he changes his attitude then he may be forever that kid with potential.
Change is a must
It would be fair to say that Wickham is perhaps more interested in the lifestyle of being a footballer than actually playing. Last summer there was an uproar after he reportedly spent £18,000 on champagne.
There is no problem with that, it’s his money, whether he earned it or not he can spend it how he likes. But that sums him up, champagne, hair gel, whey protein; he needs to focus on football, not his appearance and social life.
Obviously footballers are all entitled to a social life and can be expected to take pride in their appearance, but surely they are also expected to make certain sacrifices? Maybe if Wickham focused less on the celebrity lifestyle and a little more on the training ground then his potential would finally develop.
Sunderland fans, do you think Poyet has lost anything by letting Wickham leave to join Palace? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below.