Jarrod Bowen: All you need to know about new Liverpool target.

Jarrod Bowen: All you need to know about new Liverpool target.

Jarrod Bowen knee slides to celebrate a goal

Another day, another name linked with Liverpool Football Club. Today, it’s the turn of West Ham wide forward Jarrod Bowen. James Pearce of The Athletic reported today that the 24 year old has caught the eye of decision makers at Anfield and a move could be made should the club shift on Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri.

It is a left field link, as Bowen isn’t exactly the type of player you’d expect Jurgen Klopp to sign. But you could say the same for Diogo Jota last summer, and we’ve all seen just how that worked out. Bowen is of a similar ilk as he has the versatility to play on the right wing, on the left wing, through the middle as the striker, behind a main striker as a supporting striker, on the right of midfield or even as a central attacking midfielder. So we will give this rumour a chance, instead of dismiss it and the player along with it, out of hand. We’ll take a deep dive into his career to date, and see if Michael Edwards and his scouts know what they are doing after all (NOTE: They do).

Born on the 20th of December, 1996 in Leominster, England, Jarrod Bowen made his first steps into professional football at Conference League side Hereford. He broke into the senior side at age 17 and made a handful of appearances in the run in of the 2013/14 season. His debut came in March and he played a total of 8 games, netting once.

Such humble beginnings wasn’t to be a precursor to a fairytale, unfortunately. That summer, Hereford were expelled from the Football Conference League for financial irregularities. As such, young talents like Bowen, had to be let go. Jarrod joined Hull City on a free transfer and had to start from scratch. He went straight to their Academy and spent two years trying to make an impression and earn a chance with the first team.

He finally made headway in pre-season ahead of the 2016/17 campaign. He got his chance and he made the most of it, so much so that, he was given a first team debut in an EFL Cup victory over Exeter in August 2016.  His career took off again after a false start at Hereford. Just three months later, Hull City offered him a new two year contract to acknowledge his progress. He made just nine appearances that season but at 20 years old, he ready to explode belatedly.

  The 2017/18 season was the one that put Jarrod Bowen on the map. He started by scoring his first goal for Hull City in a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa in August. And the goals didn’t stop there. He was now fully grown and adapted to Championship football and was making headway in the pecking order. By September 2017, Hull knew they had to give him a new contract to protect their long term investment.

He was handed a three year contract till July 2020 and he showed his appreciation on the pitch as he went on to finish the season as Hull’s topscorer with 15 goals and 2 assists in 44 appearances. He swept up at the end of season awards ceremony too, picking up both Hull City Supporter’s Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year awards. The 21 year old had finally arrived.

Jarrod Bowen at Hull City

Jarrod didn’t slow down the following season (2018/19) either. He was named Championship Player of the Month for January 2019 after missing out on the award in December 2018. He made his way into the Championship Team of the Season at the end of the campaign and again swept all the awards available, bagging the Hull City Players’ Player of the Year as well as Supporter’s Player of the Year awards. He finished as Hull’s topscorer again with 22 strikes in 45 appearances, with 4 assists to boot. His productivity from the right wing was incredible. Hull had on their hands a star on the rise.

 Into the 2019/20 season, Hull were finding it difficult to hold on to their 23 year old prolific forward. It almost didn’t help that he was tearing up the Championship again that season. He had scored 17 goals and provided 7 assists in 32 games across all competitions by January, picking up the Championship Player of the Month award for November. Hull offered him a new contract but with his head turned with interest from the Premier League, the player turned down the contract. The Tigers had no option than to sell in the January window or risk losing such a valuable asset for free in the summer.

Crystal Palace were his preferred destination and they held talks with Hull City over a £16m move in the winter transfer window. But West Ham, struggling to avoid relegation from the Premier League, swooped in and offered £25million (£18million upfront and an additional £7million in add-ons) on deadline day to gazump The Eagles and Newcastle who had also registered an interest.

David Moyes was delighted with his new deadline day delight. “We’re always interested in players who can score goals and people who can make a difference and he can certainly do that,” Moyes said. “He’s done it for Hull over several years, not just one season, and if you score goals in the Championship it gives you a good chance to score them in the Premier League.

“I’ve taken the likes of Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka, Joleon Lescott and Tim Cahill from the Championship over the years. “They don’t all make the step up immediately but given time and the chance to settle and get up to speed of the game, what is expected in the Premier League then I think he could be a big success.” Bowen ended his Hull City career with a quite simply prolific rate of 54 goals and 13 assists in 131 appearances. For a left footed right winger who loves to cut in and wreac havoc, that’s an impressive total.

Jarrod Bowen unveiled as a Hammer

Bowen began life as a Hammer with aplomb. A goal on his full debut came in a crucial 3-1 win over Southampton. The boy had gone from Hereford to West Ham. From plying his trade in the Conference League to the biggest and grandest stage of them all. He finished the 2019/20 season with 13 appearances for The London side, with a goal and 4 assists (all coming after lockdown) to his name as he played his part in the club avoiding relegation.

2020/21 marked his first full season in the Premier League and he looked to prove to West Ham fans that he could handle the step up from the Championship to the Premier League. In September 2020, Bowen opened his Premier League account for the season by scoring a brace in a 4–0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers. He was beaming afterwards, and mentioned the next day his target of scoring double figures.

“I’ve always said double figures. I know it is going to be difficult in the Premier League this season but I believe I can score goals at this level. That is what I am going to aim for and if I keep performing the way I did last night I don’t think there’s any reason I can’t get there. “I was due a goal. When two come at you you’re buzzing. The disappointment was I couldn’t get on the end of the cross for the hat-trick but my first Premier League brace, buzzing with that.”

A week later, Bowen added to his tally for the season, scoring the third goal in a 3–0 away win over Leicester City. In the second half of the season, he scored in three consecutive games, in a 3–3 draw against Arsenal and 3–2 wins over Wolves and Leicester, taking his tally up to eight goals for the season. West Ham were enjoying something of a renaissance. They had gone from relegation fodder to genuine top four contenders. And the signing of Manchester United outcast Jesse Lingard was the rocket fuel they needed to create the perfect storm. In the end it wasn’t to be though, for both Bowen on a personal note as he fell short of double figures, and West Ham on the whole as they just missed out on Champions League qualification to finish sixth and seal entry into the Europa League.

Jarrod finished the season with 8 goals and 6 assists in 40 appearances. So far in his year and a half at the club, he’s hit 9 goals and provided 10 assists in 53 appearances. A big money move to Liverpool as mooted, may be a year too early in my humble opinion. I feel he’s still yet to truly light up the Premier League, or prove he can, like he did in the Championship. Another year of development could be just what he needs to bridge that gap from Europa League qualifying West Ham, to a club with designs of winning the Premier League and Champions League in Liverpool.

He is still only 24 and withr 4 years left on his contract, has time on his hands. Another year of consistent game time and a first taste of European football, won’t hurt. Jota whom we’ve referenced as a bit of a similar link, also cut his teeth in the Europa League with Wolves. But all this is not to say Bowen doesn’t hold a candle to other rumoured Liverpool targets in Donyell Malen, Raphinha, Ismaila Sarr, Harvey Barnes, Ollie Watkins etc. He’s a tireless worker, presses really well and takes a mean set piece. It will be interesting to see what happens. Whatever comes his way, you can be sure he’ll attack it with the fierce determination to succeed that has brought him thus far.


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