Jordan Hugill leaves Norwich City with the best wishes of his colleagues and supporters alike.
– Photo credit: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images Ltd
When Norwich City needed a proven World Cup goalscorer, they knew Jordan Hugill was the right man.
After lamenting poor recruitment decisions during his last Premier League campaign, Stuart Webber was eager to find Daniel Farke equip them with all the options they need to get the Canaries back into the Premier League for the first time / p> With an improved physicality, championship know-how and the ability to offer a different dimension, City gave the green light for the signing of Hugill and presented him with the jersey with the number nine.
The focus was on that too to postpone the losing mentality in the locker room that had started after the Project Restart. In Hugill and his colleague Teessider Ben Gibson, they discovered two cultural trailblazers who were popular and could pull players through difficult times.
In an empty Carrow Road, Hugill could often be heard gathering troops during the warm-up and at the final whistle celebrated whether he had minutes on the pitch or not.
When Teemu Pukki impressed, Hugill was often the first to congratulate him. Strikers are portrayed as selfish operators, Hugill smashed this stereotype to pieces.
His contributions on the pitch were important. It was his last minute penalty against Rotherham that really kicked off the Canary Islands campaign. If Norwich had to rely on him, he never let her down. His two goals against Bristol City earned him a valuable three points.
That’s why Farke went out of their way to commend him for his off-field contribution. He was someone with the ability to have a dressing room.
However, given Pukki’s performance, it would have been almost impossible for most strikers to make it into the starting XI. For the Norwich tactical system, the Finn is like a player built to play in.
Hugill found it more difficult. He doesn’t run after Pukki with the same intelligence, he doesn’t dodge defenders similarly, and his movements aren’t as sharp. But that’s not a criticism of the ex-Preston man.
He’s terrorizing defenders in other ways. When he signed for Norwich, he admitted he enjoyed a physical match and his pressing is relentless. As an opposing defender, he would be a nightmare to play against.
City is not going as Hugill may have liked. They didn’t play to his strengths enough to make him successful at Preston, and he played under 700 minutes last season.
So a move to West Brom under Valerien Ismael is a perfect step for him at this stage of his career.
Despite its attributes, there are limitations in its game. Hugill himself would admit that. Norwich has recruited Josh Sargent and believes Adam Idah can be some kind of surprise weapon in the Premier League.
With that in mind, Hugill’s role has continued to decline. He deserves more than a background cheerleader. Therefore, both parties have spoken honestly about their respective situations this summer.
If an agreement could be sought, Norwich would not stand in his way. Millwall made a proposal to sign the 29-year-old earlier this summer but saw a setback.
Hugill’s agents have now brokered a loan move for this season to promoted West Brom, with the striker eager to add another résumé Add title win.
Ismael, a close friend of Farke after they both attended the same coaching course, has an intense style of play. Daryl Dike was used in a style of play that helped Barnsley move up the league table last season.
The Frenchman’s system requires a unique amount of energy, especially from the center forward. Hugill has plenty of it. His teams do not tend to dominate possession. They are strong from set pieces and Darnell Furlong’s throw has already been used to great effect.
In a way, Hugill’s scoring record will not matter to the boss of the Baggies as he has the qualities to expertly fulfill this role in a way that which many strikers just don’t.
There will be some West Brom fans who aren’t impressed with Hugill’s arrival, but he’s going under the radar. His talents at this level are broad. He is strong, dominant in the air and able to hold the ball.
Hugill will support himself to get back to scoring goals at the championship level. Norwich will be watching with interest as they know they will be a viable option again next season if they don’t survive in the top division.
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