West Ham boosted their fight against relegation after completing the £22m signing of the highly rated Hull City forward Jarrod Bowen late on Friday night. Uncertainty had hung over the deal as the 11pm deadline approached and West Ham, who had to work hard to agree personal terms with Bowen, were forced to request an extension after a day of delays and intrigue.
Complications initially arose when the 23-year-old refused to accept a contract containing a clause triggering a 50% pay cut in the event of David Moyes’s struggling side dropping into the Championship. A compromise was reached when he altered his demands and asked for a relegation release clause, thought to be £20m, to be included in a deal worth £60,000 a week.
Doubts remained, though. With the clock ticking down towards the deadline, club officials were still unsure if the player was on his way to London. Eventually there was relief when it emerged that Bowen had boarded a train from Leeds with the intention of signing for West Ham, who moved for him after Crystal Palace had agreed a deal with Hull for one of the brightest talents in the Championship on Thursday.
Bowen’s train arrived at Kings Cross with just over an hour left for the transfer to be completed and he was met at the station by Andrew Pincher, West Ham’s club secretary, before they sped to the London Stadium, where Moyes was waiting to welcome him to the club. The deal is another boost for Moyes, who strengthened his midfield with the loan signing of Tomas Soucek from Slavia Prague earlier in the week.
Only goal difference is keeping West Ham out of the bottom three before Saturday’s home game against Brighton, and the signing of Bowen, who has scored 16 goals and registered seven assists in 29 Championship appearances this season, gives Moyes more variety in attack. Bowen, who was also targeted by Newcastle, likes to cut in from the right wing and is noted for his dangerous left foot, speed and finishing ability.
West Ham have admired Bowen for a while but only made their move when Palace had a bid accepted by Hull. While there is a feeling that paying so much to sign a player from the Championship is a gamble, they did not want to miss out to a London rival. Moyes has a reputation for targeting young players from the lower leagues and he will hope that Bowen’s energy brings the best out of Sébastien Haller, who has struggled since his £45m move from Eintracht Frankfurt last summer.
West Ham solved their goalkeeping problems by signing Darren Randolph as cover for Lukasz Fabianski earlier in the window and they also wanted to bring in a right-back. However, they failed with an attempt to land Barcelona’s Moussa Wagué on loan as the 21-year-old Senegalese player would not have received a work permit.