Jordan Hugill’s time at West Ham United has not been the Premier League fairytale that he may have imagined when joined the Hammers in January 2018.
The striker has made just three appearances for West Ham in the 18 months since he left Preston North End and spent last season on loan in the Championship with Middlesbrough.
It seems the 27-year-old is now set to leave the London Stadium permanently and it has been reported that he is close to a move to Wigan.
According to the Sun, a £3 million fee has been agreed between Wigan and West Ham, and negotiations are ongoing between Hugill and the two clubs over wages.
Preston, Sheffield Wednesday, and Leeds United had been linked with a move for the forward but it seems as though Paul Cook’s side have managed to win the race for the Englishman.
We put a spotlight on his final season at Preston to examine whether the signing is a coup for Wigan.
Hugill made just 27 Championship appearances in the 2017/18 campaign for Preston before he was snapped up by West Ham on January transfer deadline day. The forward scored eight goals for the Lancashire club in that period, a good return for half a season.
Despite only being six-foot, Hugill will provide Wigan with an additional threat in the air. He won an average of 17.19 aerial duels per game in his final season at Deepdale – which put him amongst the best players in the league in that category in the 2017/18 season.
The striker is an experienced Championship forward, having made 137 appearances in the league and scored 29 goals, but he failed to really find his feet at Middlesbrough, scoring just seven times all season, and there are questions whether he will be able to get back to goalscoring form at Wigan.
An issue which Cook may face is that even while he was in form for Preston he often struggled to impact the game outside of his goals. The 27-year-old had 70% pass accuracy, suggesting his link-up play is nothing special, and he provided just two assists. Additionally, he only averaged 2.83 touches in the opponent’s box per game and 1.93 average shots on target – indicating he did not have much involvement outside his goals.
This represents a bit of a problem for Cook as it suggests that if Hugill does not rediscover his goalscoring form at the DW Stadium he is likely to offer little else to the Wigan side.
However, the Latics boss is buying the forward to score goals and should he return to the sort of form he showed at Preston then the £3 million Wigan are understood to be set to pay for him will look like good business. Hugill is on £40,000 per week at West Ham, and Wigan are reportedly offering him half of that, meaning despite the low fee the striker is not coming cheap.
The Latics lost last season’s joint-top goalscorer Nick Powell this summer and need to add support for Joe Garner up front, Hugill could provide just that. The forward could be a great signing for Wigan but there is no guarantee he will rediscover his form in front of goal, and he offers little outside that, so it is hardly a coup.