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CONFIRMED: Striker Signs Sunderland Deal

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Sunderland have one less contract to worry about.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Connor Wickham has signed a new 4-and-a-half year deal, committing him to Sunderland until 2019.

Speculation over the 21-year-old's future has dominated the headlines pretty much since his stunning purple patch in front of goal led Gus Poyet's men to survival last season. He was the subject of two bids last summer from West Ham, both of which were turned down flat by the club.

That decision seems to have now been vindicated, with the striker and club now able to both focus on his development.

Wickham has struggled to replicate his goalscoring form from last season, though he has been shifted out to the left wing in his defence. It has to be seen as massively positive news for the club, though. They backed themselves to keep a very highly regarded young player, learning the lessons of the past, and delivered upon it.

A clearly delighted Gus Poyet said:

I think it was very important to tie down a young English centre forward as there are not many around

This shows clearly the way this football club wants to progress.

Now it's over to Wickham to prove he's worth it!