October brought great news to West Ham fans after Jarrod Bowen signed a new deal to keep him in east London for seven more years. Jarrod has more than proved his value to us fans since he joined the club in January 2020 from Championship side Hull.
While the jump from one league to another can take time for adjustment, in classic David Moyes fashion, Bowen wasn’t given a starting position until Moyes felt he was ready for it, no matter how much the fans were screaming out for him. On February 29. he finally made his first start and made an immediate impact, scoring in a 3-1 win. His start to life in claret and blue was disrupted by the pandemic, and it’s since become a legal requirement for commentators of West Ham games to mention that he spent his lockdown running through cow fields.
Once the season re-started, Bowen was a driving force for West Ham’s increased fortunes of the post-lockdown era – and he’s just gotten better and better. In his second season at West Ham, he scored eight goals in 40 appearances; in his third, 18 goals in 51 appearances. He’s been a lively player on the pitch for West Ham. He brings a quickness to the game and a lightness on his feet, and is very versatile in switching between a winger’s role and a striker’s one.
It doesn’t matter where you put him on the pitch; he’ll find a way to score from there. He’s electric on the ball and his goal record speaks for itself, with West Ham crediting him with 78 direct goal involvements in 167 games. In his most recent season, he was troubled by drought. He didn’t seem his normal effective self, looking sluggish and subdued on the pitch while the goals well and truly dried up.
That’s not to say it wasn’t a successful season for Bowen – the fantastic news in his personal life that his partner was pregnant with twins seemed to kick-start his scoring renaissance. He finished the season with 13 goals in 54 appearances – including the goal that won West Ham their first European trophy in 58 years. He’s gotten off to a flying start this season. In 10 games in all competitions, he’s netted six goals and been incredibly useful with assists and crosses into the box, making the commitment to his claret and blue future even more timely. But does a long-term contract really keep the admirers at bay?
The better the player is, the more risk a team more established in the top six comes in for them, irrespective of them having a contract – here’s looking at you, Declan. If he stays effective, there’s always the risk that a team will make an approach for Bowen. He’s a great player, and he scores and assists goals reliably and mostly consistently.
He doesn’t have a release clause, but West Ham often sell players before their best-by date if it’s mutually beneficial. This hasn’t exactly been helped with Michail Antonio weirdly and unhelpfully acting as his agent to encourage Liverpool to swoop in still to poach Bowen. In a recent podcast, he discussed Bowen’s links to Liverpool, saying: ‘The money you get from [Mohamed] Salah, you are going to have to give it to [West Ham]! He’s quality, left-footed and plays on the right-hand side like Mo Salah, so he is the perfect replacement, but hey, it’s not going to be easy to get him out of here. It won’t be easy because that’s a seven-year contract man has just signed.’
Antonio has hit the target – for once – with his comments about Liverpool, as they’ve been the most linked team with Bowen – but there is a lot in east London’s favour for retaining this Hereford wonder. Truly, Bowen’s got a good life in east London. He is firmly cemented in our starting eleven, and even in the brief goal drought he had, Moyes continued to back him, knowing he’d come good again.
He’s won a European trophy with the club, and become entrenched in West Ham’s history after scoring the winning goal to secure us the trophy in the final. He also happens to have another part of West Ham’s culture rooted in his family life. He shares young children with his partner, East End reality star Dani Dyer, daughter of life-long West Ham superfan Danny Dyer.
Family Sunday roasts would be a bit awkward if he decided to uproot his young family away from a club that runs in their DNA. Bowen is a player who really could go the distance for West Ham. He’s already racked up 3.5 years for the club – so would it be madness to speculate that he’ll fulfill his contract until 2030 and earn a testimonial in the process?
Although testimonials are becoming rarer by the second, and West Ham has history in not always offering one – see one James Collins – I’m hopeful that this is a settled player who meant it when he pledged his future to one West Ham United.