The Gossip: Wickham Wanted?

Mike Hewitt

It's that time of the week where we take our analytical eye to the week's tram nsfer news and rumours.

It was yet another hectic week in the transfer market but unfortunately for Sunderland there was little sign of positive progress. We lost out on one 'priority' target, had no good news surrounding the returns of former loanees and a few other targets edged closer to moves elsewhere.

But before we get to that, the formalities:

Julian Speroni (Crystal Palace)
Jean-Armel Kana-Biyik (Stade Rennais)
Santiago Vergini (Estudiantes)
Marcos Alonso (Fiorentina)
Caner Erkin (Fenerbache)
Gordan Bunoza (Wisla Krakow)
Will Buckley (Brighton)
Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa)
Raul Meireles (Fenerbache)
Matt Grimes (Exeter)
Josh McEachran (Chelsea)
Diego Capel (Sporting Lisbon)
Fraizer Campbell (Cardiff)
Fabio Borini (Liverpool)
Martin Kelly (Liverpool
Moussa Sow (Fenerbahce)
Bafetimbi Gomis (Lyon)
Ever Banega (Valencia)
Jordon Mutch (Cardiff)
Daniele Dessena (Cagliari)
Giannis Maniatis (Olympiakos)
Christopher Forrester (St Pats.)
Billy Jones (West Brom)
Jordi Gomez (Wigan)
Costel Pantilimon (Man City)
Michael Mancienne (Hamburg)
Kevin Chaurand (Celaya)
Luis Pedro Cavanda (Lazio)
Ashley Williams (Swansea)
Tom Ince (Blackpool)
Luca Cigarini (Atalanta)
William Vainqueur (Standard Liege)
Luciano Vietto (Racing Club)
Kolbeinn Sigthorsson (Ajax)
Paulinho (Livorno)
Curtis Davies (Hull)
Ross McCormack (Leeds)
Yeltsin Tejeda (Saprissa)
Morgan Amalfitano (Marseille)
Rene Adler (Hamburg)
Bryan Ruiz (Fulham)
German Lux (Deportivo La Coruna)
Geoff Cameron (Stoke)
Kurt Zouma (Chelsea)
Andreas Christensen (Chelsea)
Lewis Baker (Chelsea)
Victor Moses (Chelsea)
Panagiotis Kone (Bologna)
Diego Poyet (Charlton)
Enner Valencia (Pachuca)
Jose Holebas (Olympiakos)
Djamel Mesbah (Parma)
Timothee Kolodziejczak (Nice)
Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille)
Jack Rodwell (Man City)
Nabil Bahoui (AIK)
Emmanuel Emenike (Fenerbahce)
Troy Deeney (Watford)

That's eight new players this week, taking our running total to 58. With the transfer window less than a week old and just under two months left in it, reaching a century should be a breeze.

The big news this week is that the chase for one of our 'priority targets' Ashley Williams has come to an end with the news that the central defender has signed a new long-term contract with Swansea. In hindsight it looks as if the player and his agent have used Sunderland's genuine interest perfectly to get themselves the deal they wanted from Swansea, in which case you can only say 'fair play' to the agent but that leaves Lee Congerton with a bit of work to do to find a replacement.

Chelsea youngster Kurt Zouma has been mentioned as a possible loan target but it's believed Gus Poyet wishes to add an experienced player with leadership qualities to Sunderland's backline. Roker Report's own Michael Graham has taken a look at some potential alternatives and analysed how they would fit into Poyet's Sunderland.

A few other players who were mooted as possible Sunderland targets edged closer to moves to other clubs this week. Tom Ince has held talks with Hull City and is rumoured to be interesting Stoke City, Leeds United striker Ross McCormack has been the subject of extraordinary £10m bids from Fulham and Norwich, and Diego Poyet has undergone a medical at West Ham.

None of the three were thought to be particularly high on Sunderland's radar however, with only the son of Sunderland's head coach a disappointing one to miss out on but with both father and son reluctant to work together, it's understandable that we have not made a move for the midfielder.

It has been reported this week that Sunderland will try to negotiate a new deal with Connor Wickham or if it looks like he will not sign a new deal, then they will look to sell the striker to avoid a repeat of recent mistakes where players have been left to run down their contract and leave on free transfers. Hot on the heels of that news came reported interest from Leicester City, who were rumoured to be considering a £5m move for the 21-year-old.

It may be a case of agents drumming up interest in their client in an attempt to wrangle a better deal with Sunderland, as we've been victims ourselves with Williams, but it's hard to see either Sunderland or the player himself looking to cut ties after the club's investment in the player finally started paying off during 'The Great Escape' and Wickham will surely hope to capitalise on his Premier League breakthrough.

Despite the player only having one-year remaining on his current contract, it's important to note that in no circumstances would the player leave without Sunderland receiving a penny in compensation should he see out the remaining time on his contract. With the player being under 23, compensation would be set by a tribunal, which takes the following into account:

PFCC hearings take place on an agreed date with each club required to provide evidence to support their valuation of the player in question. In making its judgement the committee will take into account the costs of both clubs in operating a Football Academy or Centre of Excellence, as well as the age and playing record of the player, the length of time he was registered with his original club, the terms offered by both clubs, the status of the two clubs, the substantiated interest shown by other clubs in acquiring the registration of the player and any amounts paid by the original club to acquire the player in the first place.

So as the club paid an initial fee of £8m, rising to £12m, to Ipswich Town for the player, at this point they would have paid him a fortune in wages and the original signing-on fee, due to his performances at the end of last season there will be a number of clubs interested in his services should his contract expire and his clear potential, we would be looking at significant compensation for Wickham.

Wickham is not the only Sunderland striker in demand, with Middlesbrough in talks over the permanent signing of Danny Graham, and the Nacho Scocco saga rumbles on with both Newell's Old Boys and Boca Juniors retaining an interest in the Argentine striker. Graham would be a loss but only in the financial sense, with Sunderland willing to drop their asking price to £1m to get the highly-paid, under-performing striker off their books.

Scocco has arrived back in the North East for pre-season training with his agent in tow, as he looks to engineer a move back to Argentina. Despite Boca's interest, it's his former side Newell's who are the frontrunners of the signature but Sunderland's asking price will be a problem for the Rosario side. Due to their struggle to raise the necessary funds, there has been talk of loaning the player, Newell's only purchasing a percentage of his contract or a player coming the other way in part-exchange (with young winger Eugenio Isnaldo mooted). None of those options are likely to be tempting to Sunderland, who will want their money back if they are to sell the player.

Emanuele Giaccherini has been linked with a move to Galatasaray but with Cesare Prandelli recently taking up the reigns at the Turkish giants, seemingly every Italian player in the world has been linked with a move to the Turk Telecom Arena but although you can take that rumour with a pinch of salt, Prandelli was a big fan of the winger when he was in charge of Italy.

The most exciting transfer rumour of the week, and possibly of the transfer window so far, comes with the news that Sunderland (and West Ham) have been offered French international Mathieu Valbuena. Valbuena would obviously be a 'next level' signing but whether the club have any genuine interest in the winger or if they would want to use a considerable part of their budget on signing a player who is 30 in September, and in a position where we are well stocked at the moment with Adam Johnson and Giaccherini remains to be seen. As it stands, Valencia are in talks with Marseille in the hopes of signing the player for a fee in the region of £5m

The agent of Modibo Diakite believes a swap deal for his client and Marcos Alonso between Sunderland and Fiorentina would be difficult to achieve. Although Alonso is likely Sunderland's first choice target at left back, we have been linked with a trio of left backs this week, in the shape of Jose Holebas of OlympiakosDjamel Mesbah and Timothee Kolodziejczak.

None of the three have any Premier League experience, which is high on the must have list for potential targets this summer. Holebas has impressed with Greece during their run to the knockout stages of the World Cup and is also interesting Southampton as a possible replacement for Luke Shaw, Mesbah has also been at the World Cup with Algeria but looks destined for Lille and Kolodziejczak was a target for West Ham but the Hammers had trouble tying up a deal for the Nice defender so signed Ipswich defender Aaron Cresswell instead.

Jack Rodwell is an interesting name to consider, once a highly rated midfielder, his career has stalled his since a big money move to Manchester City and linking up with Poyet and being made a focal point of the Sunderland could reignite his stuttering career. We could face competition from North East rivals Newcastle for his signature and Man City are believed to be weighing up a move for Ross Barkley with Rodwell used as a potential sweetener in the deal.

We were linked to a trio of attacking players. Emmanuel Emenike looks a no-go, just like his Fenerbahce strike partner Moussa Sow, his eight figure price tag looks beyond Sunderland, particularly with Wickham, Altidore and Fletcher still at the club. Troy Deeney was also linked with the club this week and may be a useful addition to the squad should Graham and Scocco depart. AIK winger Nabil Bahoui was also mentioned as a possible target but his agent says there has been no concrete interest in his client.

Sunderland's hopes of signing Fabio Borini early in the window took a blow with his agent saying he is returning to Liverpool to stay, however with Brendan Rodgers hoping to further strengthen his front line to offset the imminent departure of Luis Suarez, expect Poyet to test Liverpool's resolve to hang onto the popular striker before the window closes. There has still been no movement on the future of Santiago Vergini, with the 25-year-old currently involved in Argentina's World Cup squad, as he covers for absentees in training.

Oscar Ustari and John Egan have found new clubs after being released by Sunderland, with Ustari linking up with Newell's Old Boys in his native Argentina and Egan joining League One side Gillingham, and released youngsters Liam Marrs and Jordan Laidler are both on trial at Carlisle United.

Finally, Kristan Heneage took a look at Lee Congerton's 'To-Do' list and pondered how the Welshman could make his mark this season.

That's your lot for this week but stay tuned to Roker Report throughout the summer as we keep you up to date with all the transfer news and rumours. Also, feel free to keep in touch with our dedicated Transfer Centre, which you can do by CLICKING HERE.

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