Sunderland sign £8.1m Connor Wickham
Sunderland boss Steve Bruce today landed a major transfer coup when he snapped up teenage Ipswich striker Connor Wickham.
The 18-year-old headed for Wearside last night to undergo a medical after the Black Cats' offer of £8.1million, potentially rising to £12million, was accepted.
Talks over a four-year contract have now been concluded with Bruce having got his man after striking decisively to land a player who had previously been linked with Liverpool - the club he supported as a boy - Arsenal and Tottenham.
Bruce said: "A number of top sides have been chasing Connor for some time now, so naturally we are absolutely delighted he has chosen to come to Sunderland.
"He's still very young, but at 6ft 3in he's a physical presence. With his height and style of play, he will offer us a threat in front of goal and complement our existing strikers.
"We have been watching him for a while now and he is improving and developing all the time. He's a great prospect and I'm sure our supporters will love watching him play."
The Hereford-born England Under-21 international emerged from the ranks at Portman Road to establish himself in the first team. He scored nine npower Championship goals last season.
He is unlikely to be the last striker to arrive at the Stadium of Light this summer with Bruce targeting at least two, if not three, frontmen following a difficult end to the last Barclays Premier League campaign.
The Black Cats took the decisions to accept Aston Villa's £24million bid for leading scorer Darren Bent in January and not to spend in haste to replace him with Fraizer Campbell close to a return from a knee injury.
However, with loan signing Danny Welbeck, who has since returned to parent club Manchester United, also sidelined, Campbell broke down in training and will miss most of next season as well.
That left Asamoah Gyan as the club's only fit senior specialist up front, and that is a situation Bruce is desperate to address as a matter of urgency.
South Korea international Ji Dong-won is close to completing his move from Chunnam Dragons, while much of the groundwork on a deal to bring Liverpool's David Ngog to Wearside has been done, although his arrival is less certain.
CONNOR WICKHAM FACTFILE
1993: Born in Hereford on March 31.
2002: Joins Reading.
2006: Moves to Ipswich.
2009: March - Becomes Ipswich's youngest ever player at the age of just 16 years and 11 days, beating the previous record by 46 days, with his substitute appearance against Doncaster.
August - Scores first senior goals, netting twice in 3-3 draw at Shrewsbury in the Carling Cup first round.
November - Reportedly the subject of interest from Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea.
2010: March - Scores first league goal for Ipswich with an injury-time winner against Scunthorpe.
April - Signs a professional contract with Ipswich, putting pen to paper on a two-year deal.
Named Football League Young Player of the Month.
May - Picked for England's Under-17 squad for the European Championship. Scores both goals in a semi-final victory over France and the winner in a 2-1 success over Spain in the final.
2011: January - Having established himself in the first team, signs an extension to his Ipswich contract, committing him to the club until 2013.
February - Scores the last goal in a 3-0 win over Sheffield United - running from inside his own half before finishing - then two games later scores a hat-trick in a 6-0 win at Doncaster.
March - Named Football League Young Player of the Year.
April - Signs another deal with Ipswich, extending his contract with the club until 2014.
May - Scores in the final game of the season against Leicester, taking his tally for the season to nine goals.
June 29 - Signs a four-year contract with Sunderland, in a deal which could cost the Wearside club £12million.
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