Hugill wants to ‘prove a point’ as Canaries confirm signing of striker from West Ham
- Credit: Norwich City FC
Norwich City have completed the signing of former Preston and QPR striker Jordan Hugill, who says he’s determined to ‘prove a point’ after his limited opportunities in the Premier League with West Ham.
The 28-year-old has signed a three-year deal after the Canaries came to an agreement with the Hammers for a player they have been chasing in recent weeks, who had two years left on a contract reportedly worth around £35,000 a week.
Negotiations around a structured deal were concluded over the weekend, understood to be worth £2.6million up front with a series of performance related add-on fees which could follow, ahead of Norwich trying to bounce back to the Premier League at the first attempt. Reports had suggested West Ham wanted a deal worth around £5m.
It’s expected that Hugill will have had to take a significant pay cut to join City, after seeing a January 2018 move to East London turn sour - which had earned Preston a club record fee reportedly worth close to £10million.
He has flown out to Germany to join up with his team-mates for a pre-season training camp, which begins with a friendly against third tier side SC Verl this afternoon (4pm UK time).
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After signing his contract, Hugill said: “As soon as I knew Norwich were interested in taking me, it was a decision that I wanted to move quickly. To come here is brilliant, for me and my family to get settled again and hit the ground running.
“For me, the aim is to get this club back to where they want to be and for me to prove a point.
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“I’m a big, physical presence who will batter a defender around, so quite old school, but I’m also a very powerful striker who can get in the box and on the end of things.
“I’m looking forward to meeting and getting to know everyone, but, more importantly, I’m looking forward to succeeding with everyone.”
Hugill joins as competition for Teemu Pukki and youngster Adam Idah, with Switzerland international Josip Drmic expected to move on following relegation from the Premier League, having managed just one league goal last season.
While it’s thought that Finland star Pukki remains first choice for now, as he tries to recover the form which saw him named Championship Player of the Season in 2019, Hugill stands at around six-foot tall and will offer a more physical threat with a reputation for being good in the air.
Canaries boss Daniel Farke, also speaking to City’s official website, added: “Jordan has proved he can score goals, especially at this level. He’s homegrown, a top-class character and at a good age.
“He offers something different to what we have in the squad. He’s a physical threat, who is also able to keep the ball under pressure. He’s good in the air and can attack crosses.
“It took some time, but we’re pleased we’ve been able to get the deal done, get Jordan in and for that we owe many compliments to Stuart (Webber, sporting director).”
After injuries had prevented opportunities to step out of non-league previously, Hugill joined Port Vale in 2013. He spent the first three months of the season in the National League on loan at Gateshead, scoring five goals in seven games and then another five in 20 games for his League One parent club.
He was named Young Player of the Season in Vale’s end-of-season awards but was out of contract so was picked up by Preston North End in a deal worth just £25,000 - but with a 20 percent sell-on fee which reportedly earned the Staffordshire club close to £2million when Hugill was later sold to West Ham.
After brief loan spells in League Two at Hartlepool and Tranmere during his first season with North End, the forward forced his way in during 2015-16 and then was the club’s top scorer with 12 goals in 44 matches during the 2016-17 Championship season.
Ten during the opening 29 games of 2017-18 caught the interest of former Preston boss David Moyes at West Ham, who agreed a deal worth up to £10m for a player who had scored a total of 30 goals in 114 games for North End.
Yet just three Premier League appearances as a substitute followed as he spent most of his time on the bench and when Moyes was replaced by Manuel Pellegrini at the London Stadium just six months after he had joined, Hugill found himself loaned back to the Championship with hometown club Middlesbrough.
Seven goals in 41 games in all competitions during 2018-19, as Boro finished just a point outside the play-offs, wasn’t enough to force his way in at West Ham and it was back out on loan to the Championship last season.
The physical forward scored 15 in 41 matches in all competitions for QPR and also picked up 10 yellow cards during a season of mid-table mediocrity but now he’ll look to bring his tenacity to a Norwich squad hoping to be mixing it at the top end of the division.
Asked what he expected to bring to City, Hugill continued: “Goals, that’s what a striker comes in for. I had my best scoring season in the Championship last season and I can only improve on that.
“That’s playing maybe a full season injured as well, so now I’m fully fit, raring to go and hopefully I can improve on that 15 goals that I scored last year and maybe reach the 20 mark.”
Confirming the deal on their website, a West Ham statement concluded: “West Ham United would like to thank Jordan for his professionalism, hard work and commitment and wish him the very best for his future career.”
Hugill becomes City’s 10th signing of the summer transfer window and also qualifies for homegrown criteria which in the Championship, unlike in the Premier League, requires seven players in a match-day squad of 18 to qualify as homegrown.
He follows on from the permanent signings of Kieran Dowell, Przemyslaw Placheta, Danel Sinani, Jacob Sorensen and Bali Mumba, as well as the loan arrivals of Oliver Skipp and Xavi Quintilla from Tottenham and Villarreal respectively.
- For more on Hugill’s form at QPR last season, see the video at the top of this story, as we caught up with QPR fan and LoftForWords writer Clive Whittingham to find out more about the loan spell