Crystal Palace have dipped into the transfer market for the fourth time this summer, wrapping up a deal for Sunderland striker Connor Wickham for a fee in the region of £9million.
He joins Yohan Cabaye, Alex McCarthy and Patrick Bamford at Selhurst Park ahead of manager Alan Pardew’s first full season at the South London club.
The Eagles have been without a real goal scorer since the days of Andy Johnson a decade or so ago. Only Glenn Murray has come close to replicating the top flight form of the Palace legend. The only issue with Murray though, is that he has not had anywhere near the prolonged run in the side since his Championship days, where he suffered a serious knee injury.
Wickham is a younger option to his counterpart who may ,along with Bamford, add energy to Palace’s lacklustre attack. Though not as clinical, it is evident that the former Ipswich man is stilla goal threat. He guided Sunderland to safety with 6 goals during their end of season run-in in the ‘13-14 season, when it looked as if his side were down and out, showing his appetite for big games.
Murray vs Wickham
Glenn Murray demonstrated his eye for goal during the last campaign on his return from a year long absence. He featured in 17 Premier League games last season in comparison to Wickham’s 36, yet managed to outscore the 21-year-old with 7 goals to the former Sunderland man’s 5. In addition, Murray contributed with 3 assists while Wickham provided only once for his team. Not to mention his edge in terms of shot accuracy aswell.
So why have Palace made Wickham their second most expensive player of all time, if they have an in-form striker already at the club? Lets just say Wickham’s stats are not a true reflection of his performances, having played a very unselfish role for the Black Cats last year.
The right side of a three-pronged attack became Wickham’s home, and more so under Dutchman Dick Advocaat who took over from Gus Poyet. His work rate and flexibility in a struggling side is what caught the eye of the Palace board, who were quick to wrap up a deal for the young England forward.
Palace have a wealth of talent in the wider areas with Zaha, Puncheon and Bolasie, so it is unlikely a wide berth awaits the new arrival. We have also seen him revel in a central role which can only add to the threat posed by the Palace front line.
With Murray’s experience and physical prowess and Bamford’s promise in front of goal, competition for places will be healthy. Wickham’s strength and work rate may just be what is required for Pardew’s men to push on and challenge for European honours this coming season.