As the time ticked on in the January transfer window our need for a striker became more and more alarmingly apparent.
We finally found a home for long time wantaway striker Diafra Sakho – who departed to Rennes; deadline day also saw the departure of the versatile Andre Ayew.
We were linked with the likes of Russia captain Fyodor Smolov, Leicester’s Islam Slimani and England forwards Danny Ings and Daniel Sturridge – who eventually signed for West Bromwich Albion and promptly ended up back on a stretcher minutes into his fi rst Baggies start.
Few, though, if any, had the name of Preston North End’s Jordan Hugill on the radar.
Indeed, many have named him the most underwhelming Hammers signing in history.
Harsh when you consider some of the utter rubbish the club has signed in past history, I off er you Wellington Paulista and Walter Lopez to name but two.
The Middlesbrough-born forward looked refreshingly excited after sealing his somewhat surprising move to east London.
During his ‘Welcome’ video it appeared his Christmases had all come at once as he announced he was ‘looking forward to walking out to all the bubbles’ in his thick northern accent.
Whilst many mocked the signing, mainly due to their anger at Karren Brady supposedly scuppering a potential move for Slimani and the board failing to stump up the cash for Dendoncker and Smolov, I was quietly pleased with the arrival of someone clearly so keen to play
Whilst many mocked the signing, mainly due to their anger at Karren Brady supposedly scuppering a potential move for Slimani and the board failing to stump up the cash for Dendoncker and Smolov, I was quietly pleased with the arrival of someone clearly so keen to play in claret and blue.
The Hammers’ have enjoyed relative success when delving into the Championship for young English players, the likes of Aaron Cresswell and Michail Antonio to name a couple.
So I’m hoping Hugill gets the same level of support those two got upon their arrival in the east end.
The issue now with signing lower level players comes with the high level of expectation the board have allowed us to have.
Sullivan and Gold have ripped the soul out of the club and taken us away from our home on the false promise of superstar signings.
‘World class players in a world class stadium’, spouted Brady ahead of the move away from Upton Park. So the arrival of Hugill, through no fault of his own, was another little gut punch to every West Ham fan.
It also never helps when a player so totally off the radar joins the club, very few fans know much about him and the statistics that many will read on Wikipedia wouldn’t have helped his cause.
A player who has had recent spells at Hartlepool and Gateshead is hardly a signing that is going to appease an already restless fan base.
But on the flip side of the argument, you only have to look at the Jamie Vardy story to believe that there are gems in the lower leagues to be found.
Now I am not saying Hugill is going to smash 20+ goals in a season and help lead us to Premier League glory like Vardy did for the Leicester. But you can be sure he will give it his all, something that may not be said for an expensive loan signing in the mould of Slimani that every Hammer was clambering for as the clock ticked on.
The 25-year-old is a determined, no-nonsense centre-forward, so it came as no surprise to me to see him instantly pulled up for a foul seconds into his home debut.
That is the type of player he is, similar to Carroll in many ways in the sense he is a big lad, who is good in the air, and on his day can produce a world class finish. Hopefully, he can stay slightly fitter than Andy Carroll mind.
His goal-scoring record isn’t fantastic by any stretch of the imagination; a look at his stats will tell you he is a one-in-five man at best. But looking at the sides he has played for, he probably lacks the service required to reach the top of the scoring charts.
It is important to note, however, that he was enjoying his most prolific season for Preston before putting pen to paper with the Hammers scoring 10 goals for the Lilywhites this season.
His game though is much more than just goals, he brings players in with flick on headers and his hold up play is decent.
He is a 100 per cent kind of forward and will leave everything on the pitch. That kind of grit and determination will serve him well at the London Stadium and if he can start to knock a couple of goals in he has the potential to be a real cult hero.
He won’t be a starter, especially given the fine form of Marko Arnautović and recently Javier Hernandez, but he does offer us something else off the bench which we may well need going into the business end of the season.
So, whilst his arrival may not have been the mouth-watering arrival we were hoping for, he deserves our support and we can only hope he turns out more like Dean Ashton than Sam Baldock.
Hugill has already started to win me over claiming Marlon Harewood as his favourite Irons player of all time. A bold call from the northerner, but it gets my seal of approval. Bag a few goals Jordan and you’ll be on your way to being as much of a cult hero as Marlon was.