When does a positive Deadline Day signing become a negative Deadline Day signing?
When he’s compared to Jordan Hugill!
No offence, Jordan, it’s just that things didn’t exactly work out rosy for you in East London.
But that was the buzz at the end of the January Transfer Window when Jarrod Bowen signed for the Hammers from Hull City for around £20million.
In classic West Ham style, the signing stalled for some time on Deadline Day afternoon, reportedly due to negotiations around a pay-cut should the Hammers be relegated to the Championship. It has since come to light that he could even be allowed to leave the club if their fate is relegation.
Nothing says ‘welcome to our club’ like throwing the ‘R’ word into negotiations.
Regardless of the ins and outs, Bowen put pen to paper, which was greeted with mixed reactions from West Ham fans judging by social media comments.
One thing was clear though – Hull City fans were sad to see the 23-year-old depart. That became even clearer when I caught up with some Tigers’ fans who couldn’t wait to tell me what a good signing we’d made.
Simon Brown, describing himself as a ‘sad Hull City fan’ started by telling me: ‘Jarrod will be greatly missed by Hull City and the fans’.
Followed by Scott Wood, who said: ‘Jarrod Bowen was without question the best player in the Championship. Losing him along with Kamil Grosicki has probably turned us from play-off contenders to doing what we can to make sure we stay up.’
These sentiments were echoed by Ryan Calvert, who admitted: ‘He’ll be missed massively at City with him being our top goal-scorer but I think he’ll bring the same determination and passion to West Ham and hope he scores as often as he did for us.’
We’ve bought players like that before though – remember how sad Leeds fans were to lose Sam Byram? He was perfectly fine, but this time we’re looking for ‘up the creek without a paddle’ good.
So what do the Hull fans think of Bowen’s style of play?
Simon: ‘He got kicked to bits during games but got straight up and on with the game. Hopefully he’ll do well at West Ham as his game awareness and passing ability was great not to mention his goal scoring.’
Scott: ‘He’s a better version of Daniel James at Man United for me, doesn’t have his blistering pace but James doesn’t compare with his dribbling and eye for goal.
‘He needs to be given the freedom to run at players, then the goals will come and he will be a massive success at West Ham.’
Ryan: ‘As a player he’s really determined, great at winning the ball in his own half and driving forward. Very confident and will try his luck from various ranges as well as following up team mates efforts to get the goals.’
This all sounds like the kind of player we’re looking for in East London. Things are sounding good!
So far this season in the Championship, Bowen is the third top scorer (at the time of writing).
He’s netted 16 times in 29 games, with a goal every 163 minutes. He’s managed 69 shots on goal, 39 of those were on target (57%).
To add to his all-round game, he’s also provided seven assists this season. Of the 24 top scorers in the second tier (of which Jordan Hugill is one, by the way), this ranks him as the second best assistant.
Over the course of his Hull City career spanning two seasons in the Premier League and three and a half in the Championship, Bowen has scored 54 goals in 131 games.
I like those stats! All he needs is the right work ethic and attitude to get up to speed with the pace of the Premier League and his new team mates.
So how about his attitude to the game and his team?
I asked the Hull fans for their views on something that’s not as easy to quantify as goals and assists.
Simon told me: ‘He’s got a great attitude towards every game.
He seems a true professional unlike so many footballing divas.’
Scott agrees: ‘He’s a model pro, and to be honest we’ve probably held onto him two or three transfer windows longer than we should have.’
Ryan adds: ‘He helps the team to win games and he knows points mean prizes!’
The fans’ opinions speak volumes about Bowen. His style, versatility, attitude and ability will suit West Ham on paper. What remains to be seen is if he can continue his goal scoring form back in the top tier.
We need a confident goal-scorer, pronto. Chatting to people who know Bowen very well has ignited my excitement to see a relatively young player not be afraid of tackling the Premier League.
The Hull City fans have some parting messages for their former hero: ‘Wishing Jarrod and West Ham all the best for the future,’ says Simon.
When I remark that I hope he continues his form for us, Scott replies: ‘So do I to be honest, he’s a really likeable bloke. Deserves success at the top level.’
The signs are pretty good on a reputation level.
Let’s hope he doesn’t need to think about that get out clause too much. BBM