Sunderland have opened the bidding at around £8m in the race to sign Ipswich Town’s prized asset Connor Wickham.
The 18-year-old has become one of the hottest talents in the country since becoming an Ipswich regular in the 2009/10 season, and the England under-21 international tops the shopping lists of Sunderland, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.
But it is Sunderland who have landed the first blow with a concrete offer of around £8m for the teenage talent, and Steve Bruce is keen to push the deal through quickly before a bidding war erupts.
Paul Jewell last week stated that Connor Wickham would not be sold unless the player wanted to leave and the price was right, well £8m is on the table and Jewell has a conundrum on his hands.
Ipswich are no doubt going to want to hold out to see if Liverpool or Spurs table concrete offers, and considering Liverpool’s willingness to pay over the odds for young English talent you would think Ipswich will want to hear what they have to say.
Sunderland find themselves in a difficult position because with seven-and-a-half weeks until the season starts, there is no need for Ipswich to rush and they can afford to wait for bigger bids.
However £8m is a lot of money and the bid cannot be ignored by the Ipswich board who, should they reject it, face pricing Wickham out of a move away.
Wickham signed an extension deal in April to keep him at Ipswich until 2014, but the youngster will be eager to land a move to the Premier League as he looks to develop.
Liverpool would be the number one choice for Wickham and it is believed he is holding out for a move to Anfield, but without any concrete offer Wickham has decisions to make.
Sunderland have put their cards on the table and Ipswich should be resigned to losing their striker, but the fight is on to get the best price possible.