Crystal Palace have struggled for form of late but that didn’t prevent them from allowing forward Connor Wickham to leave recently, as he made a return to Sheffield Wednesday in a deadline day loan move.
The move may have come as a bit of a surprise for some given the striker has played four times since Boxing Day, as well as the fact that the Eagles are in need of goalscorers since they rank lowest on goals scored in the league.
Cenk Tosun signing could mean that Roy Hodgson isn’t too concerned with that statistic, while the Turk’s arrival could hint that Wickham’s long-term future at Palace is under doubt. The loanee has been unfavoured at Everton with two league starts to his name this season, meaning the Eagles could target him on a long-term basis if he impresses enough during his temporary spell at Selhurst Park.
As for Wickham, he may have a year left on his current deal and plans to return to south London to win a place in the team, but Hodgson’s comments (via Football.London) suggest the trio of Tosun, Jordan Ayew and Christian Benteke are ahead of the 26-year-old in the pecking order.
“We have got Cenk Tosun, Christian Benteke coming back from injury and Jordan Ayew, so that is three centre forwards,” said Hodgson.
“So if I had kept him [Wickham] back to keep up the numbers and be covered, if we really are unlucky and get two or three people going down, I might have given him another five or six months without the chance to play.
That means that Wickham too needs to prove himself, particularly in terms of fitness as he has only played 98 minutes of league action in this campaign. The former Sunderland man himself admitted that “we’ll see what happens” in regard to his future, and knows that at this point it is unclear where he stands, as Palace may have different ideas for him come the summer.
With Hodgson’s future also up in the air currently ahead of his contract expiring in the summer there could be several different outcomes for Wickham, and that means he must concentrate on what he can control – proving himself at Sheffield Wednesday.
Given the striker’s track record since joining Palace, he may have his work cut out to succeed from now until the end of the season.
He has 11 goals in 51 games for the Eagles but a manager like Garry Monk could be the man to get him firing again, having managed Che Adams and Lukas Jutkiewizc to 22 and 14 league goals respectively last term. If he can, having previously proven himself in the second tier, things could be looking up for him despite a tough time of it in Croydon.
Will Connor Wickham ever play for Palace again?
Does Wickham have a future at Selhurst Park or is he running out of time to win his place in the side? Share your views with us, Palace fans…
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