There were signs towards the end of last season that the 21-year-old was ready to shake off his shackles and start justifying the faith Sunderland showed in his ability when parting with an £8 million transfer fee in 2011.
His efforts helped to steer Gus Poyet’s side away from relegation trouble, with a man who has been dubbed as a ‘star of the future’ ever since bursting onto the scene as a teenager at Ipswich Town suggesting that his potential was finally ready to be unlocked.
That would appear to have been a false dawn, with Wickham having found the target just once in the top-flight so far this term.
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A lack of firepower has done little to curb rumours regarding his future, though, with the England U21 international due to drop into the free agent pool next summer.
He is unlikely to be thrashing around in those waters for long, with it already being suggested that tempting offers will be put to him from across Europe.
Wickham’s representative, David Manasseh, is reluctant to be drawn on speculative interest at present, though, with cards being played very close to the chest when it comes to talk of a possible Roman adventure in 2015.
He told calciomercato.it: “I cannot confirm the interest of Lazio in Wickham because, personally, I have not had any contact with the Italian club in accordance with FIFA rules, which require us to wait until 1st February before talking to other clubs.
“A contract extension? That decision rests with Sunderland. I can say that Connor is happy there.
“Would he like to play in Serie A? All options are open and we will not rule anything out.”
Lazio will be in the market for a new frontman at the end of the season, with veteran German Miroslav Klose approaching the end of his contract.
They will want cover for Filip Djordjevic and may well be considering Wickham, with the burly frontman boasting the physical attributes required to be a success in the Italian top-flight.
It would be a shock to see him heading for Stadio Olimpico, with there still plenty for him to prove on home soil, but a change of scenery and step away from the spotlight could be just what he needs to start turning promise into something more tangible.