Now that the transfer window is shut for another summer, that doesn’t mean business is done yet. With a large free-agent market still available for teams looking for an extra piece, expect transfer movement to remain across the EFL.
One of those names looking for a club is Connor Wickham, and with the former Premier League striker without a team, let’s look at some destinations for the experienced forward.
Who Is Connor Wickham?
Now, at the ripe old age of 30, Wickham has been without a club since his release from Cardiff City in May.
An Ipswich Town product, the striker was an exciting prospect as a kid, making his professional debut for the club at 16. Breaking onto the scene at 17 with 26 appearances for the Tractor Boys in the Championship, Wickham spent two full seasons with Ipswich, racking up 15 goals.
Getting a move to Premier League side Sunderland, Wickham started to build a reputation for himself in the England youth setup, however, struggled to kick on for the Black Cats. Following years on loan with Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds, Wickham’s time in the North East ended with a move to fellow top side Crystal Palace.
Spending six years with the Eagles, Wickham only made a lacklustre 50 appearances as his time in the Premier League ended. Moving to Preston North End for the start of the 2021/22 campaign, Wickham picked up a serious hamstring injury during his second game, which ended his time with the Lilywhites.
Dropping down to League One with MK Dons in the January transfer window, the Englishmen finished the season out with the Dons and joined Forest Green Rovers on another short-term contract for the new season.
Scoring nine goals in all competitions over the first half of the season, Wickham again moved on midseason and returned to the Championship in a limited fashion with Cardiff.
So, after playing for four clubs over the last two seasons, where does Connor Wickham go from here, and will he find a permanent long-term home?
Following a collapsed deadline day deal for prolific striker Jonson Clarke-Harris, Rovers were willing to double their club record fee, so look to be in the market for a striker. With Jevani Brown up top in a front three, despite the striker’s 21-goal contributions for Exeter last season, there is a lack of depth behind him.
Wickham could be a solid backup option in Joey Barton’s team, with the potential to still push Brown for a spot in the starting three. With last year’s League One Player of the Season, Aaron Collins playing around them, there’s certainly a place for Wickham in Gas’s attack.
With money to spend after an American takeover at the start of the year, Gillingham tried to make a splash move for a striker in the summer with Alfie May. So close to signing the star League One striker, the Gills have started the season with four wins from their opening six league games, however, have only found the back of the net four times.
Looking at manager Neil Harris’s comments on his player’s complacency after three straight defeats in all competitions, Wickham could add a sense of threat to the team.
While Wickham has never dropped as low as League Two, some clubs including Gillingham, have shown the aspiration to get out of the league and it could be a good place for the 30-year-old to step up as a leader.
If staying in the Championship is in Wickham’s plans, then Wednesday may be the only team able to offer him those aspirations. Following a crazy end to the season, which saw the Owls return to the second division dramatically, their life in the Championship has been less than ideal.
Gaining just one point from their opening five games, and with a different manager in place from their promotion-winning campaign, Wednesday is looking for an x-factor who can turn their season around.
Whether Wickham could be that is hard to see after just three goals in his last 26 Championship appearances, however, his history with the club and experience in football may be helpful in the club’s expected relegation fight.
With Wrexham continuing their action-packed Hollywood movie this season, their 29 goals for and against in the first six league games have been chaotic. Despite scoring 15 goals and star striker Paul Mullin returning to training, most of the Red Dragons’ attacking threat has come from Elliot Lee in midfield.
Wickham feels like another big name Wrexham could target, who would pair well with Mullin up top and continue the Welsh’s club rise up the football pyramid.
Similar to Wrexham, it feels like goals aren’t what Swindon are lacking right now and that’s even more so with the Robins, who have a front three on fire. However, despite the attacking force of Charlie Austin, Jake Young and Dan Kemp, the future of this attack is in the air because Young and Kemp are on loan from fellow League Two clubs.
Manager Micheal Flynn spoke on the weekend about Swindon being in the free-agent market, and if they wanted to plan ahead or replace the deadline day sale of Jacob Wakeling, Wickham could be a fascinating option for the Robins.
What are your thoughts on these destinations and where do you think Wickham will end up…