Was this the real reason behind West Ham's surprise signing of Jordan Hugill which has made him surplus to requirements?

West Ham United joint chairmen David Gold (L) and David Sullivan (R) are seen on the stand during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and West Ham United at St....

West Ham United made one of the surprise moves of the January transfer window when they signed Jordan Hugill from Preston North End.

West Ham United manager David Moyes gestures during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Southampton at London Stadium on March 31, 2018 in London, England.

West Ham were desperate for top quality reinforcements to help in their battle against relegation with a lack of striking options a grave concern for David Moyes.

So the Hammers shocked everyone when they paid over £8 million to sign little known Preston forward and former bar man Jordan Hugill.

The move raised eyebrows and was greeted with apathy from West Ham fans who were expecting to see the club push the boat out to land an established star after the co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold failed to show the kind of transfer ambition promised on leaving the Boleyn Ground for Stratford.

Sceptics who said Hugill was not good enough have been proved right so far with the burly target man managing just three brief substitute appearances in the claret and blue so far.

Reports over the weekend in the likes of The Sun, claim West Ham will be offloading Hugill in the summer, just 6 months after signing him.

Jordan Hugill of West Ham United looks on prior to the Premier League match between Brighton and Hove Albion and West Ham United at Amex Stadium on February 3, 2018 in Brighton, England.

That has led to conspiracy theories and conjecture doing the rounds on fans forums and social media as to why the club signed him in the first place.

But is the simple truth that Hugill's signing was a rare piece of forward planning from the Hammers should - as looked a distinct possibility in January - they be relegated to the Championship?

The East Londoners would never have been able to openly admit such and Moyes probably hoped Hugill might surprise everyone and make a fist of things in the Premier League.

West Ham United Joint Chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold (L) chat prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Wigan Athletic and West Ham United at the DW Stadium on May 15,...

With 10 goals at the halfway stage for Preston this season, Hugill had proved he was more than capable of performing at Championship level and would undoubtedly have cost the club more if they did drop and were desperately searching for strikers to operate in the second tier.

However with the Hammers looking all but safe now and with the inevitable prospect of much-needed top quality additions in the summer, it makes sense that Hugill will be surplus to requirements.

Whether the club can recoup the £8million they paid remains to be seen but some should he impress in the remaining games it won't hurt his or West Ham's cause.

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