The following article is a special report; all information presented, unless otherwise stated, has been gleaned from Football FanCast sources.
West Ham United managed to sign Jarrod Bowen on transfer deadline day.
The Hammers secured a deal to bring the winger into the club from Hull City but there seemed to be a number of factors that were either holding the deal up or putting it in dire jeopardy.
Throughout the final 24 hours of the window, the story captivated fans of both the Premier League club, the Championship club and every neutral in between. Apart from Manchester United’s shock loan signing of Odion Ighalo, this was the story everyone was following.
How, exactly, then, did West Ham manage to snap up a 17-goal forward from a Championship club? And why did the deal take so long to confirm?
Well, first things first, sources have told Football FanCast that the Irons’ pursuit of Bowen had lasted the entirety of the window and even further back than that.
The club had monitored him for months but it was only when Crystal Palace tabled a bid on the eve of deadline day, which appeared to be accepted, that they sprung into action.
A rival offer was sent Hull’s way and negotiations began over a possible fee. Eventually, the two sides came to an agreement; it would be £14m up front – more than Palace’s initial offer – and £8m in add-ons, taking the total package to £22m. The Eagles bowed out of the bidding.
Then came the tricky bit.
West Ham attempted to negotiate with both Bowen and his agent but there was a feeling within the east London club that the agent was using time constraints to his advantage; more and more demands were being made throughout the day to the point where it became difficult for journalists and those within the club to keep up.
The basic message sent out by the club was, at least, consistent: they were confident that Bowen would sign on the dotted line and become a Hammer by the end of the day.
He was earning £9,000-per-week at Hull but West Ham, desperate to bring him in to the point of one source saying they would “go the extra mile”, offered him almost seven times his salary in the second-tier: £60,000-per-week.
The wages were never a problem.
The issue came with a mandatory clause that the Hammers insist on including in every contract: Bowen will see his wages cut in half if they are relegated.
Initially, he and his agent seemed reticent to sign, but, having been convinced, another demand was made: A relegation release clause.
That would have stood at £25m had West Ham been relegated which, this season, is a very real possibility. The Hammers were less than keen.
They are currently 18th and face Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Wolves, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea in their next seven games.
While these negotiations were going on between his agent and the club, Bowen underwent a medical in Hull. He passed with flying colours.
It seemed a matter of putting pen to paper but, to do that, Bowen needed to travel to London and, as the clock ticked down, something unbelievable happened: West Ham lost him.
They expected the winger to arrive in London between 8pm and 9pm but, between 7 and 8, the two sides lost contact. One source told FFC that they weren’t sure if Bowen was on his way to the London Stadium or if a hijack had occurred and that he was on his way to sign for another club.
After over an hour of frantic calls and text messages – one source told FFC at around 8:10 pm that the club simply didn’t know where he was – West Ham were informed that Bowen had boarded a train in Leeds to travel to London; it arrived just after 9 pm.
It was at this point that the club acquiesced and agreed to the relegation release clause; there is a feeling from the player’s camp that, even if they are relegated, he will be able to remain in the Premier League due to another club triggering it.
There were reports on the day that Bowen actually wanted to sign for Newcastle United but that, sources say, was always a non-starter. The Magpies had made their interest known earlier in the window but were not willing to deal with the agent’s demands.
West Ham, clearly, did not feel the same way.
Having arrived in the capital, he was whisked to the London Stadium and signed on the dotted line; West Ham announced his capture at 11:47pm, 47 minutes after the deadline.
With a clash with Manchester City looming, he could make his debut this weekend.
West Ham are delighted that they have got their man but it certainly wasn’t easy; he has to live up to some pretty lofty expectations now.