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Late bloomer Mulenga comes of age at CHAN


Wickham set for Sunderland medical

Ipswich starlet Connor Wickham is expected to undergo a medical with Sunderland on Wednesday after Steve Bruce made an £8 million bid for the striker.

• Gardner set for Sunderland
• Black Cats sign Westwood and Larsson

Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham are also interested in Wickham but the Black Cats have stolen a march on their rivals with a formal approach for the 18-year-old and plan to seal the deal as soon as possible.

In addition, Birmingham midfielder Craig Gardner is due at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday for talks with manager Bruce, who could announce a double signing.

Wickham has been a first-team squad member at Ipswich since the age of 16 and was part of the England Under-21 squad during this summer's European Championship.

Sunderland have been in discussion with Ipswich for several days and reports suggest they have agreed a package which could eventually rise to £13 million.

Bruce is currently engaged in an extensive summer shopping spree as he attempts to improve upon the club's first top-10 Premier League finish since the Peter Reid era.

Strikers are one of his main priorities with Darren Bent having been sold to Aston Villa in January, Danny Welbeck now back with Manchester United following his loan spell and Fraizer Campbell facing most of the new campaign on the sidelines with a knee injury.

Indeed, Sunderland ended last season with record signing Asamoah Gyan as their only fit and available option in attack, and that is a situation the manager intends to address as a matter of urgency.

South Korea international Ji Dong-won has already been on Wearside to discuss terms, while the Black Cats held talks with Liverpool's David Ngog, initially as they negotiated Jordan Henderson's switch to Merseyside earlier this month.

But a successful swoop for Wickham would land them a player whose potential has alerted a series of interested parties, and it remains to be seen if they can beat off any competitors spurred into action by their bid.

Bruce is hopeful of pushing through moves for Ji and Gardner within the next few days, while he awaits progress on Manchester United trio Darron Gibson, Wes Brown and John O'Shea, for whom he has made a joint offer of more than £12 million.


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