Hull City's £10 million record signing Abel Hernandez scooped the club’s Player of the Year award last night.
Hull City striker Abel Hernandez has rounded off an excellent season by scooping both the club’s Player’s Player of the Year Award and the Player of the Year Award this week.
The 25 year old has scored 20 goals in 41 appearances in all competitions and is now beginning to show why he merited a club record sum of £10 million to prise him away from Italian club Palermo in 2014.
The contrast with his first season in English football has been plain for all to see, as he struggled to come to terms with not only living up to his reputation as a player of much unfulfilled potential, but also to justify his unprecedented transfer fee.
Indeed, he netted just 4 times in 29 appearances for Hull in the Premier League, compounding a season to forget as the Tigers were relegated from the top flight.
Hernandez was once tipped to be one of the rising stars of world football, earning comparisons with the likes of renowned compatriots Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, the latter he even played alongside at Palermo after joining the Italians in 2009.
In fact, in 2011 he was even subject to a reported £10 million bid from Tottenham Hotspur, following a season of real promise and exciting performances both in Serie A and in Europe. Their offer was swiftly brushed aside by the Sicilian club, who valued him at nearly double that figure.
Thereafter however, Hernandez, found his development stagnating, as he struggled to find any rhythm nor truly reach the heights that many had predicted for him, hampered by the chroniuc instability at Palermo, who churned through 24 different managers in the 11 seasons preceding his departure.
But he and teammate Pablo Dybala remained potential diamonds in the rough, and in 2013 Hernandez looked to be back on the right track. After helping Palermo secure promotion back to Serie A and appearing for Uruguay at the World Cup, Hull swooped in to nab the striker for a record breaking fee.
Whilst former strike partner Dybala has since gone on from Palermo to emerge as a key figure in a dominant Juventus side, Hernandez however has remained a talent unfulfilled. Despite apparently settling in quickly on Humberside, the goals soon dried up and the Uruguayan struggled to make his mark on the top flight.
And after the disappointments of last season, it was widely expected that Hernandez would leave the KC Stadium in search of pastures new, branded a flop and a waste of money in some quarters.
However, a move never materialised, and with the full support of manager Steve Bruce, Hernandez has really pushed on this season, rewarding the faith shown in him with some excellent performances, including a first-half hat trick in a 6-0 drubbing of Charlton Athletic back in January.
The Uruguayan is the first striker to net over 20 goals in all competitions for Hull in 11 years, and his performances have been recognised not only by his fellow professionals at Hull but also by the fans, who voted him their Player of the Season at the club’s annual award ceremony last night.
They will certainly be hoping he can find maintain the prolific form he has shown already this season, and go on to vindicate why he was once so highly thought of on the European football scene.
More importantly however, with Hull set to do battle for promotion in the Playoffs, they will hope his impressive season can help propel their side out of the division, and set up the chance for Premier League redemption, both the club, and for Hernandez.