Norwich City boss Dean Smith believes his side don’t have the option to recall striker Jordan Hugill from his loan spell at West Bromwich Albion, making this revelation to the Eastern Daily Press.
The 29-year-old has struggled at The Hawthorns so far this season despite being given plenty of first-team opportunities, getting on the scoresheet just once in 20 Championship appearances for the Baggies this term and unfortunately being a part of a front line that has failed to be clinical enough in front of goal so far during 2021/22.
He is seemingly starting to be frozen out of the picture though, only coming on as a substitute at Derby County in the latter stages of last month before being an unused substitute against Cardiff City in their last league match and during their FA Cup tie against Brighton.
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The likes of Callum Robinson and Matt Phillips have been preferred as central options in those recent games – and the £7m arrival of Daryl Dike from Orlando City earlier this month will only prove to be more detrimental to his starting prospects.
Lazio forward Vedat Muriqi has also been linked with a move to The Hawthorns, although a move is perhaps further away than first imagined with no agreement reported to be struck between the two clubs at this stage.
This potential move could signal the end of Hugill’s time at Albion though – but Norwich could be powerless if the Canaries’ manager Smith’s suspicions are proved to be correct.
He said: “I don’t believe there is a recall option.
“I’ve spoken to Andy (Hughes), who’s our loans’ manager who keeps in touch with all the loan players.
“I’m going to be speaking to Jordan over the next 24 hours to see how he is finding it there.
“I don’t believe there’s a release clause but I’ll have a chat and see how he is.”
This does make you wonder whether there’s a recall clause for anyone – because if Hugill or West Brom had the power to end the loan – surely that would have happened by now.
In fairness, the forward may be retained as a backup option with Covid cases and injuries coming into play in the coming months, with no guarantees that Dike will remain fit for the majority of this season.
It’s damning though that an unorthodox central option in Phillips is being preferred to him – and he will need to raise his game considerably if he has any chance of playing a key role in the Baggies’ chase for promotion.
From the striker’s point of view though, he may want a fresh start away from The Hawthorns and if a recall option is there for anyone to trigger, then it may be a good idea to do so, allowing him to return to Carrow Road before potentially going out on another temporary spell elsewhere.
He hasn’t done enough in the West Midlands to justify a move up to the Premier League at this stage, so it will be interesting to see what happens with his situation and where he ends up at the end of the month.