David Moyes confirms Jarrod Bowen could be set for run as West Ham striker after starring against Arsenal

David Moyes is ready to hand Jarrod Bowen the chance to become West Ham’s first-choice centre-forward after his superb display Carabao Cup display in midweek.

Bowen started up-front and was on target as the Hammers beat Arsenal 3-1 to set up a quarter-final trip to Liverpool, ending a run of three straight defeats.

Having sold Gianluca Scamacca to Atalanta in the summer and decided against signing a replacement, Moyes had talked up Bowen’s striking potential in preseason but stuck with Michail Antonio at the beginning of the campaign as the Jamaican made a promising start, though his form has tailed off in recent weeks.

Thus far, Bowen has only started games at No9 in the cup competitions, when Moyes has rotated to manage Antonio’s workload, but asked whether that could soon become his Plan A, the Irons boss said: “Yeah, definitely.

“I think we all saw something the other night. Was that the reason we played much better? Maybe. I think we’re all looking at it and saying, we’re needing to keep [evolving]. It’s like with anything else, when you talk about moving managers on or moving players on, you have to keep finding new ways.”

Bowen has seven goals in 13 appearances already this term and while that strike against the Gunners on Wednesday was his first from centre-forward, he also impressed when leading the line away to Freiburg in the Europa League last month.

Jarrod Bowen scored the third goal as West Ham beat Arsenal in midweek (Getty Images)
Jarrod Bowen scored the third goal as West Ham beat Arsenal in midweek (Getty Images)

In both matches, West Ham’s forward line has looked far more dynamic for the inclusion of Bowen, Lucas Paqueta and summer signing Mohammed Kudus in the same team, though frustratingly for Moyes, Paqueta’s suspension will deny him the chance to stick with the formula at Brentford on Saturday.

“I’m loathe to say he’s suddenly a No9 because we might need him to play No7 and do the job that he’s doing there,” Moyes said of Bowen. “But in time I see it changing for Jarrod, I really do.

“Hopefully, people would have seen my thoughts over a few months. I actually think Freiburg was probably the night, he was terrific that night in Freiburg and I think that made me feel it.

“We had a bit of a blip after the international break but the game the other night got us back on track. And the performance, more importantly, from the likes of Mo and Jarrod and Paqueta got us thinking there are other solutions to what we’ve got here.”

While West Ham’s transfer business has been famously poor when it comes to signing strikers, the club do have a strong recent record of converting midfield players, with Antonio and Marko Arnautovic both following a similar path.

Following Scamacca’s departure this summer, the Hammers tried again to sign Sevilla striker Youssef En-Nesyri and were interested in Lens’ Elye Wahi but eventually decided to head into the season without a specialist new recruit.

Michail Antonio's form has dropped off in recent weeks (Getty Images)
Michail Antonio's form has dropped off in recent weeks (Getty Images)

The theme has been common among Premier League clubs, with Chelsea perennially searching for a centre-forward, Tottenham declining to directly replace Harry Kane and Manchester United gambling huge sums on unproven talent in Rasmus Hojlund.

“At every level you go to everyone is trying to find a new No9,” Moyes added. “The conveyor belt of them has dried up through academies and more teams trying to play with the ball and keep the ball. Maybe young players are becoming No10s to get more touches.

“How many moved into the Premier League last year? [Alexander] Isak did unbelievably well. Obviously [Erling] Haaland, his value makes him top. After that I couldn't come up with huge amounts. [Ollie] Watkins was already there. There wasn't an awful lot going on.

“There's not really been a good market out there to buy and probably people have written that we need a new striker. Dead easy to say, dead hard to find to get someone who will work for you immediately.

“Manchester United look like they've bought a good young centre-forward but maybe he's going to take six months or a year to get exactly what they want from him. They paid big money. It's hard to get exactly what you want, centre-forwards especially. That's why I hope if we can't find it, Jarrod might help fill the gap going forward.”