According to Manchester Evening News, Manchester United are firm favourites to sign Joe Hugill this summer. The Red Devils are leading Leeds United, among many other clubs in the pursuit of the Sunderland youngster with Hugill expected to cost around £300,000.
Who is Joe Hugill?
A product of the Sunderland youth academy, Hugill has been a part of the club since childhood. Although only 16, he has emerged as one of the most promising up and coming youngsters in English football, thanks to his consistent performances in the youth competitions. It has even led to him being promoted to the Sunderland U23 side.
A centre forward by trade, Hugill can be easily distinguished, thanks to his massive 6’2″ frame. Despite his imposing figure, however, the youngster is a very agile striker, although the physical prowess remains his biggest asset. He can easily keep hold of the ball and play on the shoulders of the last defender.
However, more importantly, Hugill is a brilliant poacher. He is always on the lookout for goalscoring opportunities, much like Borussia Dortmund starlet Erling Haaland and his predatory instincts are backed up by the fact that the youngster has netted numerous goals while playing for the youth teams.
Indeed, the 16-year-old notably scored a hat-trick against Shrewsbury in an FA Cup youth tie in November. It was followed by a brace against West Ham U23 in the Premier League 2 in February and given his performances in the youth competition; it won’t be surprising to see Hugill being given a shot at the highest level of football shortly.
Will Leeds United rue missing out on Hugill?
Hugill had the ideal characteristics of a striker Leeds United are desperately missing at the moment. Their main centre forward in Patrick Bamford is not exactly a goalscoring forward. Instead, the ex-Chelsea starlet is more of a team player – someone who can create chances and link up with players in the final third.
Should Leeds United get promoted to the Premier League next season, they will require the services of a proper and reliable goalscorer as they are less likely to create chances. With that in mind, Hugill would have been an ideal option.
At the same time, however, it is fair to consider the fact that the youngster is not yet ready to play at the highest level of football. Even if he had moved to Elland Road, he would have only been considered as part of the reserve side, due to his age. So essentially, the Whites must move on and set their sights on a more experienced individual as they prepare for a potential return to the English top-flight next season.