When you think of West Ham’s club record signings over the years the first thing that springs to mind is – flop.
Savio is the biggest one, who arrived from Brescia in 2009 for a whopping £9m, despite no one having ever heard of him. Ten league appearances later and he was being sold to Fiorentina at a loss of about £7m.
Many will turn to Matt Jarvis as the second worst club-record signing, and although that may be a harsh assessment, it’s difficult to argue against it.
Jarvis signed for the club in a deal believed to be around £12.5m in August 2012, with Sam Allardyce claiming the reason he paid a club-record fee for the winger was because he was statistically the best crosser of a ball for Wolves the season before. Despite the fact Wolves were relegated, no one really questioned it at the time. But look back, it comes across as rubbish roulette strategy to the transfer window from Big Sam.
What followed was just over three seasons of pure frustration. Between 2012 and earlier this season, Jarvis made a total of 90 first team appearances for the club and scored six goals. Twenty three of those appearances were off the bench and he’s never been much of a goal scorer anyway, so you can’t really complain if you’re looking at his poor goal return.
But remember Allardyce bought him for his ability to assist, not score. Throughout his entire West Ham career, Jarvis registered just nine assists. That’s one every ten games. And when you consider two of those came in the Europa League qualifiers against sub-standard opposition earlier this season, it makes even worse reading for the 29-year-old.
It’s not all about cold, hard statistics, though. I’m a sucker for stats, but the one thing we can all agree on is the fact Jarvis just wasn’t worth £7.5m and his aimless dribbles towards the by-line before providing a pointless, dinked cross in to the box often had us with our heads in our hands. I don’t think I ever saw him look up when he was in possession, he was that frustrating.
That said, his failings at the club certainly weren’t down to his lack of effort. He genuinely tried hard every time he was on the pitch, but it just wasn’t to be for him.
As soon as Allardyce left in the summer, you just knew it’d be curtains for Jarvis. However, the writing was firmly on the wall for him last season, and that was due to the arrival of a number of better players. Jarvis only made 13 first team appearances last term, seven of which were off the bench. Even under Allardyce he’d lost his place!
Then Bilic turned up and it wasn’t long before he was shipped off to Norwich where he has since signed on a permanent basis.
Some will blame tactics on his demise in east London, others will look at the pressure of being a club’s record signing, but ultimately it was his failure to deliver the one thing he was brought to the club to do – assist – which means he’ll forever go down as a complete and utter waste of money.
Thanks for that goal at White Hart Lane though, Matt. We’ll always be thankful for that!