This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Jordan Hugill could be given a West Ham United lifeline next season.
Sources told Football FanCast at the start of the transfer window that the striker, signed by David Moyes in January 2018, was expendable.
He was subsequently included in a bid for West Bromwich Albion striker Salomon Rondon; the Hammers offered £10m in cash plus Hugill and defender Sam Byram, per FFC sources.
But developments since have taken a sharp turn.
Marko Arnautovic has been the subject of interest from China and, after an initial offer worth around £19.7m was rejected, a £22.5m bid will be accepted, again per FFC sources. Barring any late hitches, he will leave the club.
Javier Hernandez, too, could depart. Lucas Perez and Andy Carroll are already gone.
Selling Hugill, too, would completely gut the Irons of their striking department.
Keeping him would be a surprise, for sure, as he has played just three senior games for the club. Hugill has played a grand total of 22 minutes of Premier League football.
Yet he does not have the baggage that surrounds Arnautovic and he could well ingratiate himself under Manuel Pellegrini if he is given a chance.
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That is an average of a goal every 3.8 games.
Now, again, that is not exceptional, but at the end of the day, Premier League clubs need deep squads.
Keeping Hugill on, even if all three are signed, would make sense, then.
Pellegrini had four strikers – Arnautovic, Hernandez, Lucas and Carroll – to call upon last season and that could be repeated if his summer targets are signed and Hugill isn’t moved on.
The 22-year-old seemed like a lost cause for the Irons at the beginning of the transfer window.
Now, though, he could gain a reprieve as Pellegrini’s back-up.
If they cannot get their business done, though, he may well end up in the position of starting striker.
It remains to be seen if he would be able to grab that chance with both hands; after all, one doubts even he would have seen that development coming.