The Sun today says that one of Newcastle’s January targets is Ipswich’s 17 year-old whiz kid striker Connor Whickham.
Connor Whickham – already an England U21 International
The 17 year-old 6’3″ striker has played for all of the England Youth teams, and already has one appearance at the England U-21 level.
Connor made his England U21 debut last month against Germany, when he came on as a 66th minute substitute – but England were beaten 2-0.
There are not too many 17 year olds who make an appearance for the England U21 side.
There was news back in May that Newcastle were interested in this lad, so this may just be regurgitated news, and there are also a lot of teams that will want him if he is made available by Ipswich.
Connor starred for the England U17 side when they won their first European Under-17 Championship title last May, when they beat Spain 2-1 in Liechtenstein in the final, and Whickham scored a terrific goal in that game.
Reports early last summer said that Harry Redknapp at Spurs was willing to offer Ipswich £5M for the player, and then let him immediately play on loan at Ipswich Town, and Newcastle could do the same thing, although £5M may be too much for the Tyneside club to pay up front.
The Colchester-born 6’3? striker has so far played 47 times with 6 goals for Ipswich , and of course scored a great goal against Newcastle on 24th April in Newcastle’s last home game of the season.
Wickham made his debut for the Ipswich Town first team on 11th April 2009, aged just 16 years and 11 days, coming on as a substitute in a 3–1 home defeat against Doncaster Rovers.
That made him the youngest player to ever make an appearance for Ipswich Town.
The Hereford-born Connor started his football at Nottingham Forest, and then moved onto Ipswich Town in 2006, at 13 years of age, where he continued in the youth structure of the East Anglia club.
But if this lad is as good as we think he is, there will many clubs after him, and it’s a good question whether Newcastle could attract him to Tyneside.
Usually for young players like this, there would be graduated payments made, depending on how he progressed at Newcastle, with money being paid to Ipswich after an agreed to number of first team games, and then when and if he becomes a full England International – as just a couple of possible examples.
Connor fits perfectly into the profile of a player Newcastle are after, and while we think he would be a great acquisition for Newcastle, it may be difficult for the Tyneside club to fight off interest from other top clubs.
But there’s no doubt at all that this youngster would be an exciting and excellent acquisition for Newcastle – for the future.