Jarrod Bowen Is West Ham’s Star Man – Can The Hammers Keep Him This Summer?
Jarrod Bowen has broken out in a big way in 2021-22. Showing flashes of his ability in his first season with West Ham, Bowen took his game to another level in 2021-22 as the Hammers went on a deep European run and secured yet another top half finish.
He was integral as David Moyes’ team fell just short of a place in the Europa League final.
The former Hull man was rewarded with a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for this summer’s Nations League fixtures.
There’s a very real chance that Bowen is on the plane when England head to Qatar for the World Cup this winter, and his performances this term have unsurprisingly caught the eye of some bigger clubs.
His 12 goals and 10 assists in the Premier League puts him into a select group who achieved the league double-double.
Only 11 other players in the top five leagues achieved that feat, with Mason Mount and Mo Salah being the only other Premier League players to record double figures in both categories.
This was no hot streak either – Bowen ranks in the 90th percentile at his position in non-penalty expected goals per 90 over the last 365 days.
He benefited from some good teammate finishing to boost his assists tally, but recording five or more league assists per season is clearly sustainable.
Bowen is primarily a play finisher rather than creator. He doesn’t spend a great deal of time on the ball. Instead, Moyes utilises him as an off-ball threat, making smart runs behind the defence.
This is the best use of his pace and finishing ability, and would also make him a dangerous partner for Harry Kane in England colours. Bowen can link-up with Kane in a similar manner to Heung-Min Son or Raheem Sterling.
It’s not a surprise that Spurs have already been linked with Bowen. Liverpool have been mooted as a potential destination, too, which makes plenty of sense with Sadio Mane possibly on his way to Bayern Munich.
West Ham are going to have to fend off plenty of interest this summer if their newest star is to remain at the club for 2022-23.
Former West Ham striker Bobby Zamora explained what the Hammers must do to keep Bowen at the London Stadium.
“Certainly after this season. You don’t want to leave a club where you’ve had amazing experiences and the club are heading in the right direction.
“The club can prove to you, as a player, that they are going to improve and get a stronger squad. Then, being a part of that journey is something you want. It’s down to the club, because they want to keep those players and push on.
“David Moyes will want to recruit well, as he has done over the last couple of years. It’s down to the club to prove that he doesn’t need to go elsewhere, you’ve achieved European football with us and it’s something we want on a regular basis.”
It is the frustrating truth for most football clubs that a player having a season like Bowen just produced makes it hard to keep hold of them.
West Ham have made enormous progress under Moyes, and Bowen is a big part of that, but it will be difficult to turn down the opportunity to play Champions League football should one of the top four come calling.
Rightly or wrongly, Bowen might also view a transfer as his best chance of making the World Cup squad. It would be a risk, though, given the potential to see his minutes decrease with just a few weeks of Premier League action before Southgate names his final group.
What the summer holds for Bowen could depend on what his motivations and ambitions are in the coming months and seasons.
He has a chance to become a legend at West Ham. This is a club with newfound stability, a manager who has taken them from relegation candidate to serious top six contender, and a squad which appears to be trending in the right direction by both age and talent.
Win a trophy with West Ham and Bowen will be remembered alongside some of the club’s greats.
Alternatively, the glitz of the Champions League is undoubtedly alluring. The top clubs might offer bigger wages. It could allow Bowen to showcase his ability on a bigger stage, rather than being underappreciated in the wider Premier League conversation.
There are pros and cons to both sides. For every player that makes the move to a ‘bigger’ club, there are some who stick with where they are and thrive.
There is considerable downside to swapping the London Stadium for Anfield, White Hart Lane or elsewhere.
Jurgen Klopp heaped praise on Bowen when Liverpool faced West Ham in March. Jamie Carragher, though, remains sceptical about the mooted transfer.
“There’s talk of Liverpool’s interest in him [Bowen] and you can see why with the goals and assists he gets, but also the positions he takes up.
“Even that one [the position he took up before his injury], the position he gets in when Virgil van Dijk heads it back. He plays very narrow, as Liverpool’s wide players do.
“But I just think it’s always difficult for Liverpool to ever buy anyone in that position when you’ve got Mo Salah. Not just his quality, but he very rarely misses games.”
The transfer rumour mill is already talking about a Bowen deal. In a column for SportsKeeda, Paul Merson cited Bowen’s ‘fantastic first-half brace’ against Manchester City, and followed it up by saying, “I really like him, he’s had an outstanding season and could well secure a big move this summer.
“That said, West Ham are also a big club, so it remains to be seen what happens to him.”
This is a story which is set to run and run throughout the summer. West Ham will do all they can to keep Bowen, but it will be interesting to see how much other clubs are willing to pay after a stellar double-double campaign.