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Sunderland got it right with Wickham



Sunderland have rarely made smart transfer decisions over the last decade, as evident by their drop down to League One, having been in the Premier League as recently as 2017.

They have often overspent and received little in return following the seemingly inevitable failure of their signings.

However, one time where they did manage to sell both at the right time and for good money was with Connor Wickham.

Who was the worse striker for Sunderland?

That’s not to say that it didn’t start with a slight blunder, as they had to unload an initial £8m fee to secure his services from Ipswich Town in 2011.

He featured 91 times for the Black Cats and scored just 15 times; a wholly disappointing spell on Wearside.

The fact that he was so disappointing made it all the more baffling that they managed to recoup pretty much the full £8m fee from Crystal Palace in 2015.

What would make the deal even sweeter is that he would not score more than 11 goals for another club after leaving. Somehow his 15 goals for the Black Cats, and the Blues, remain his highest-ever goal tallies.

The 29-year-old was unsurprisingly labelled “terrible” by Radio presenter Adam Brown, a damning but ultimately fair assessment for a striker who has struggled in front of goal.

Wickham has gone on to slump down the divisions since leaving Selhurst Park, most recently ending up in League One just as Sunderland did not too long ago.

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He might just have found his level though, as four goals in his opening seven league games for Forest Green Rovers finally marks a solid return.

To think that the Wearside outfit managed to recoup £8m for a League One striker marks sensational business but had they not, then their initial fee would have made it one of their worst pieces to date.

He has seemingly been a massive flop at almost every club he has played for, with his hulking physique and presence often his saving grace.

But in the modern age, where bigger forwards are just as skilful with their feet, a player like Wickham has slowly become obsolete. That is outlined in his fall down the divisions.

Sunderland got it right when they shipped him off when they did, for a pleasant change.

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