In the summer of 2012, West Ham United broke their transfer record by paying £10.75m for Wolverhampton Wanderers winger Matt Jarvis.
But the player has not appeared to play a major part in the club’s time in the Premier League with only a handful of goals to his name, and with West Bromwich Albion reportedly having offered £7m for him the question is – would West Ham be right to sell him?
In my opinion it would be a huge mistake. Sam Allardyce was desperate to clinch a deal for the player when the possibility of signing him came up two summers ago and he was able to persuade the co-owners to offer a large sum of money to get Wolves to agree to let him leave Molineux.
At the time, Allardyce believed that Jarvis was a cross specialist as he delivered the highest number of crosses in the Premier League during the 2012/13 season.
Late in the transfer window back in 2012, West Ham were able to lay their hands on Liverpool striker Andy Carroll as they secured him on a loan deal until the end of the season. After Carroll had been signed, Allardyce wanted to see his team be more expansive and Jarvis was tasked with supplying the crosses for the main striker but, due to an injury to Carroll in his first game, the manager’s plans had all gone to pieces.
This, combined with the regular midfield three of Kevin Nolan, Mark Noble and Mohamed Diame not providing adequate service for his crosses to be effective, has made it difficult for Jarvis to show off his skill. Hopefully as Allardyce tries to build a more attacking team this season, the winger will have more of an impact.
The following season, after the club had secured the services of Carroll on a permanent deal spending a large amount of their transfer budget, there was just enough for one more player to be signed. Allardyce had the idea that he could use another winger in order to provide crosses from both wings so he went back to Liverpool to enquire about the availability of Stewart Downing, who eventually arrived in East London with a price tag of £5m.
With Downing in place it could be argued that the Hammers do not need two wingers, although Allardyce has continually reiterated that crosses are a good way of creating goals, so his belief is that you might as well have two wide players to send the crosses in for the striker to then get on the end of.
Another reason why I think West Ham should keep hold of Jarvis is that he has been showing his predatory instincts during pre-season, as he notched one of the goals in the 2-2 draw at Stevenage and it was his cross that set up an own goal in New Zealand against Sydney FC. Maybe this is the start of him trying to get more involved in how the team play.
Although he came to West Ham from the Midlands, I believe that it would be a step down for Jarvis to return there because West Ham have had far more stability than Albion, given that the Baggies have been switching between the Premier League and Championship for many years.
I am of the opinion that West Ham would be wrong to sell him for the £8m reportedly being quoted because they would lose out on a fair chunk of money, plus if they did dispose of his services now, it would leave the East Londoners with little time to find a replacement.