This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict‘ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
West Bromwich Albion fans had some ideas of who they wanted to see arrive in terms of a striker this summer at The Hawthorns, but few of them would have predicted Jordan Hugill to be the only forward signing.
After spending the summer searching for a player to suit his direct style, Valerien Ismael landed on the Norwich City man, who was out of favour at Carrow Road – especially after the addition of American striker Josh Sargent.
28-year-old Hugill has plenty of experience at Championship level, having featured for Norwich as well as Preston North End, Middlesbrough and Queens Park Rangers, but will he prove to be Ismael’s first-choice striker going forward? The FLW team have had their say on the matter…
Jordan Hugill has a lot to offer in the second-tier, and whilst he struggled for Championship minutes last season, it has to be considered that he was playing deputy to one of the best strikers the division has seen in recent years in Teemu Pukki.
However, the 29-year-old possesses a strong goalscoring record in the Championship, netting just shy of 50 times in 208 appearances in the division.
Hugill comes into West Brom’s squad as a more senior figure, and even though his clever attacking movement, emerges as one of the key reasons why he was brought in, he will also act as a more experienced head in the changing room.
West Brom’s attacking options are scary for Championship defences, with the addition of Hugill adding that little bit more anxiety.
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But, the front three are all performing excellently and it will be difficult for the 29-year-old to claim a place in the team.
He might have to bide his time at this stage, but there is no doubting that he will be eagerly waiting for selection.
I think so.
Ismael clearly brought in Hugill as he needed a proper number nine to come in and act as the focal point, and I could see that working well.
Karlan Grant and Callum Robinson have started the season strongly, but both are also good at coming in from wide areas and cutting in.
Hugill hasn’t been too prolific in recent years, but he is an excellent supplier and good at holding the ball up and bringing others into play.
It could prove to be a blend which works really well.
It was important for Ismael to have a big target man striker in his Barnsley side last season with his style of play being very direct, and Hugill fits that mould very well so I can see him eventually being the leading central striker.
Daryl Dike was that man in the second half of last season for the Tykes and he’s definitely a lot stronger than Hugill is, but the former Preston North End and West Ham United man provides an impressive work ethic and he will fit into the high-pressing system.
It’s been made clear that Karlan Grant, despite scoring 19 goals for Huddersfield the last time he was in the Championship, isn’t seen as that central striker and he’s more likely to play off the left-hand side and challenge Callum Robinson for that spot.
Hugill may not have been fans’ first choice to come into The Hawthorns, but he’s scored goals for both QPR and PNE at this level and with the service he will get from the players surrounding him, it would be a shock if he doesn’t get into double figures this season.