Sunderland sign Ipswich striker Connor Wickham

Sunderland have completed the transfer of Ipswich striker Connor Wickham for a fee which could be worth in excess of £12m to the Championship side.

The 18-year-old has signed a four-year deal with the Black Cats with an initial fee of £8.1m changing hands.

Wickham had been linked with a number of Premier League clubs but has decided to join Steve Bruce's men.

Bruce said: "Naturally we are absolutely delighted he has chosen to come to Sunderland."

Wickham was included in the England squad for the European Under-21 Championship this month but did not make an appearance.

After joining Ipswich as a trainee in July 2008 he made 37 first-team starts and came off the bench 35 times, scoring a total of 15 goals, having made his debut at the age of 16.

In May 2010 Wickham helped England to victory in the European Under-17 Championship, scoring the winning goal as they beat Spain 2-1 in the final.

Wickham told Sunderland's official websiteexternal-link: "Now everything is done and dusted, I just really can't wait to get started.

"Once the fee was agreed and I met with the manager, he basically told me everything about the club and the ambitions, and it was sold."

Sunderland boss Bruce added: "He's still very young but at 6ft 3in he's a physical presence. With his height and style of play he'll 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."

Ipswich manager Paul Jewell said last week that he expected a lot of interest in Wickham - who had signed a new contract at Portman Road in April - over the summer but that the club were under no pressure to sell.

But Town chief executive Simon Clegg told the club's official websiteexternal-link: "As much as we would have liked to have kept Connor at Portman Road we have to be realistic and recognise that the offer from Sunderland was simply too good to turn down.

"The deal is by far the biggest transfer fee this club has ever received. We are proud that he has developed through our academy and what he has achieved in his time here."

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