May 21 2013 Latest news:
By Dave Gooderham
Thursday, May 3, 2012
PAUL Jewell has admitted Ipswich will be at the head of the queue should former Town teen sensation Connor Wickham be loaned out next season.
The Blues’ biggest-ever sale has endured a difficult first season in the Premier League scoring once and starting just five matches with Sunderland.
The 19-year-old’s failure to break into Martin O’Neill’s team has led to speculation that Wickham could be sent on loan next season as part of his development.
Speaking for the first time about the rumours, Jewell admitted Town would have first say on any loan deal as part of last summer’s multi-million pound transfer.
While Wickham’s wages, and the percentage Ipswich would have to pay, might prove a stumbling block, Jewell hoped there would be some room for manoeuvre.
He admitted: “If they are going to loan Connor, we will have first say.
“We will be head of the queue because that’s what the deal says, though I am not quite sure about the wages. I think that ‘first say’ is on very high wages which would rule out most Championship clubs.
“If Sunderland wanted Connor to get some football and the wages were right, we would definitely be interested.”
Jewell’s comments will be welcomed by Town fans who would love to see the teenager back at Portman Road – if only on a season-long loan.
Wickham burst onto the scene in April 2009, becoming Town’s youngest-ever debutant when he came on against Doncaster, aged 16 years and 11 days.
He eventually made 37 starts, and another 34 from the bench, scoring 15 goals, before being snapped up by Steve Bruce and Sunderland for £8.1 million rising to £13 million.
But he’s found the transition to Premier League football difficult, both under Bruce and then after O’Neill took over in December.
Wickham will be hoping to make more of an impact on Wearside in pre-season.
But with O’Neill looking to secure a big-money striker in the summer, the youngster might be tempted by a loan move and the lure of regular first-team football.