Bruce is confident former Ipswich Town striker Wickham will prove an astute signing if he fulfils his rich potential.
He told the Sunderland Echo: "He's got bags and bags of potential.
"When you are buying potential, of course there's always a risk. But I'm convinced that he's going to be a top player.
"He provides something different. He's 6'3" at 18 - you have to remember he's 18. But I'm convinced he will be a fantastic signing for Sunderland.
"I flew Connor and his dad out to Portugal a couple of weeks ago and laid down what we planned for him.
"He thought this was the best stage of his development to come here, feature and play. That was the big thing for him, the chance to play frequently.
"He's got a good chance here with us."