Premier League side Norwich City are set to recall West Bromwich Albion loanee Jordan Hugill from his loan spell at The Hawthorns in January, according to The Sun on Sunday (5/12 paper edition; page.59).
The 29-year-old has struggled not just with a lack of goals, but also his performances in general during his time with the Baggies so far and has failed to impress the West Midlands outfit’s fans in the club’s quest to return to the top flight at the first time of asking.
He has only scored once in 17 Championship appearances so far this season, dropping back down to the second tier in late August as he came in to fill the void left by the likes of Charlie Austin and Mbaye Diagne, but calls for another striker have only grown with his underwhelming performances.
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With this and Albion’s plans to recruit a new striker during the winter window to solve their lack of cutting edge up front – Valerien Ismael’s side had failed to score in their last three league games prior to yesterday’s 2-1 away victory against fellow high-flyers Coventry City – the Canaries are now planning to recall the ex-West Ham United man from his unsuccessful temporary spell away from Carrow Road.
He hasn’t started a game for the second-tier side since the end of October, making cameos in his loan side’s last six games and being left out in favour of the likes of Karlan Grant, Grady Diangana, Matt Phillips and Callum Robinson.
Despite his continued first-team involvement though, new Norwich boss Dean Smith may now decide to end that spell early and utilise the forward in the top tier of English football.
This might be the best move for all parties, because it’s clear the 29-year-old is completely devoid of confidence at this stage and criticism of the striker will only intensify if his performances and goalscoring record fails to improve.
Hugill may not want to give up just yet as he looks to add another second-tier promotion to his CV, but his parent club has a responsibility to take him out of the firing line if needed and considering his current form, the winter window is the right time to bring him back.
Whether he will get a lot of game time at Norwich remains to be seen, but he needs to be playing regular football at 29 and with a new loan club and a new setting, that could help him return to his previous form.
He wasn’t even a prolific goalscorer for the Canaries last term as he scored just four times in 31 appearances, but he can perform much better than he has at The Hawthorns this term and sending him to a Championship side not competing for promotion may take the pressure off him.
More than anything else, he needs to be at a side where he feels needed, so Norwich will need to assess his options before making a decision on his future.