West Ham striker Jordan Hugill is expected to undergo a medical at Middlesbrough today, ahead of a loan move to the Championship club.
Hugill joined the Hammers in January of this year from Preston North End, in an initial £9.5m move that shocked a number of West Ham fans – but not in a good way. As expected, the strikers spell at the club has been a huge disappointment and it is no surprise to see him heading out on loan this summer.
Were West Ham right to sign Hugill in the first place, though? The short answer? No. But let’s take a look at a few stats, to prove that he was never really going to be the right man to lead the line for the Hammers.
Using Squawka and basing it on a per 90 minutes played metric, we are going to compare Hugill’s first half of last season at Preston, to how his fellow West Ham strikers Marko Arnautović, Chicharito and Andy Carroll got on throughout the 17/18 season. Although this may not sound like a fair comparison, bizarrely, Hugill actually played more minutes at Preston than any of the other strikers did during last season.
Whilst Hugill’s record of eight goals for Preston last season isn’t a bad return, it was three less than Arnautović and only level with Chicharito. It is important to note that this was only at Championship level and per 90 minutes, he actually averaged fewer goals than the injury-prone Carroll last season, at just 0.32 strikes per 90. His one assist was enough to push him up to second – but that is obviously still a poor return.
Hugill’s shot accuracy, at 36%, was pretty terrible and was almost 30% below Arnautović’s and 11% less than Carroll’s 47% accuracy level. If a player isn’t hitting the target often enough at Championship level, then the Premier League is clearly beyond his reach.
It is no surprise to see Carroll leading the way with the most aerial duels won, with an impressive 59.2% record. In fairness to Hugill, he isn’t bad in the air and did well to win more battles in the air than the taller Arnautović. Perhaps, the West Ham board were hoping the former Preston man’s ability in the air could add something to the forward line. Who knows?
It was certainly not for his ability on the floor, as the stats suggest. Hugill only had a successful take on’s won percentage of 41.67%, which is far lower than any of the other strikers compared here and, remember, that was at Championship level. As West Ham fans love strikers with good feet and ability, did Hugill ever really have the right attributes to endear himself to the fans?
Hugill was clearly never going to be good enough for what was needed at the club and should not have been signed. At the time, the former Preston forwards arrival screamed desperation as the transfer deadline loomed – and it appears to have been no different now. In fairness, Hugill has never been given much of a chance to prove himself, having only played 22 minutes for the club – but the stats show that he wouldn’t have been good enough. Maybe a team like Burnley would have been a better move for the forward back in January, where his attributes would have been far better suited.
Whilst it is only a loan move initially, it doesn’t look like the striker will ever pull on the claret and blue shirt again. Having worked with a number of top forwards in his managerial career, it was extremely unlikely that Manuel Pellegrini would integrate him into his plans. It is the best move for Hugill and for West Ham, with a loan fee surely due from Middlesbrough and his wages off the books. Hopefully, Hugill can get his career back on track and start scoring goals again, now that he is back at the right level.