MK Dons have signed former Sunderland and Crystal Palace striker Connor Wickham.
Wickham arrives at Stadium MK as a free agent following his departure from Preston North End earlier this month. The 28-year-old, who has been training with the Dons for the last two weeks, has signed a short-term deal until the end of the 2021/22 season.
The ex-England youth international has amassed 250 career appearances for the likes of Ipswich Town, Sunderland and Crystal Palace and scored over 50 goals – the majority of which have come in the Premier League.
A winner of the EFL Young Player of the Year award, Wickham was an FA Cup runner-up with Palace, scoring the decisive goal which sent the Eagles through to the Final in 2016.
He was also a UEFA European Under-17 Championship winner with England while, on a personal level, he has Premier League and Championship Player of the Month awards to his name.
“This is a great opportunity for me and one I couldn’t say no to,” Wickham told iFollow MK Dons after finalising his move to Stadium MK.
“Me and the Gaffer go way back – he was one of my first coaches – and I have a few other connections here but, ultimately, this a chance for me to join a great club with huge potential and hopefully I can become a good addition to our push in the second half of the season.
“There is a great dressing room here and the manager has a good idea for where he wants to go with this team. I want to be a part of that journey and hopefully there’s an exciting few months to come for all of us.”
Born in Hereford, Wickham began his youth career with Reading before joining Ipswich Town in 2006. The Tractor Boys’ youngest-ever player when he made his debut, he went on to total 72 appearances for club before joining Sunderland for a reported £8million in June 2011.
During his time at the Stadium of Light, Wickham spent time out on loan with Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United but also played 91 times for the Black Cats, scoring 15 goals.
The striker then signed for Crystal Palace in August 2015 and spent six years at Selhurst Park. It was Wickham’s 61st-minute goal against Watford in 2016 that fired the Eagles to their first FA Cup Final in over 25 years.
Wickham, who enjoyed a third loan spell at Sheff Wed while on the book at Palace, left the capital at the end of last season and signed a short-term deal with Preston North End. Limited to only two appearances with the Lilywhites, the 28-year-old left Deepdale this month before linking up with former coach Liam Manning at Stadium MK.
Sporting Director Liam Sweeting said: “Connor is somebody I know personally from my time at Crystal Palace while he worked under Liam Manning during his Academy days at Ipswich Town.
“We invited him to train with us following his departure from Preston North End and has since expressed a real desire to sign on here at MK Dons and contribute towards our goals in the second half of this season.
“He certainly provides us with a different option in attack while his experience from playing, and scoring, at the highest level will certainly be of benefit to us in the important few months ahead.”
Head Coach Liam Manning said: “Connor is a player I have coached previously and I am looking forward to working with him again here at MK Dons.
“I can’t speak highly enough of his character, first and foremost, while he has also proven, throughout is career, what a top player he can be. He will certainly bolster our squad, on and off the pitch, for the remainder of the season.”