After three thoroughly impressive Premier League campaigns with Wolverhampton Wanderers, West Ham United brought Matthew Jarvis to Upton Park for a – then – transfer record fee believed to be in the region of just over £10 million including add-ons. Despite the big-money move, due to Wolves’ brilliant haggling, many thought he’d still be worth the money. Sam Allardyce wanted Jarvis to be the man to supply Andy Carroll with chances galore.
Prior to the signing, Allardyce claimed Matt Jarvis was; “One of the best final-third crossers in the Premier League”.
The formula seemed to be working moderately well at first, in his first season in East London Jarvis attempted the highest amount of open-play crosses in the Premier League (171) and, was successful with 42 of them. However, the formula’s effectiveness dwindled with Jarvis’ own form in his second season. As West Ham started to struggle in the second season, it compounded Jarvis’ loss of form and belief in his own game. Something which was prevalent among the majority of the West Ham squad at the time. Despite playing 32 games in each of his first two seasons at the club, his third, he only mustered 11 games as different tactics and new players were implemented.
Slaven Bilic entered the fray as the new West Ham manager and it was clear the slate was wiped clean for everyone. What was clear from the off was that Jarvis was going to latch onto this chance to prove himself, and, to be fair, he did. He was involved in the club’s Europa League stint, and was arguably one of the only senior players who could come away from the brief campaign knowing they’d run themselves into the ground trying. For this alone, there were mixed feeling regarding Jarvis’ future, should he now be kept and given a chance, or, should he be replaced with a better winger?
Matt Jarvis on his season-long loan to Norwich; “The move is a good fit, definitely…It’s great for me to come to a great club and to hopefully be able to get some more minutes under my belt, play and do my best for the club.”
It turns out, it was the latter. West Ham brought in two new wingers on transfer deadline day in Victor Moses and Michail Antonio, leaving Jarvis to see his contract out on a season-long loan at Norwich City. For all parties concerned it seems to be the best move. Personally, I would have liked to see Jarvis see his contract out at Upton Park, but if Bilic felt he wouldn’t be getting much playing time, then fair enough.
All Jarvis has ever needed is confidence, he has the pace and crossing ability to trouble the large majority of opposing fullbacks and defenders. His three years at West Ham may have been something of a lull in his career due to the lack of confidence he beheld, but, this loan move to try to help Norwich stay in the Premier League – and – gain a full time contract after the season are obviously going to push him to perform at the level we know he can.
There is, of course, the slim chance that Jarvis is looking to add to his tally of just a single England cap with the Euro’s lurking, and England still not comfortable for players on either wing. Speaking after Norwich’s recent win, in which Jarvis was instrumental on his debut, and, scored a cracking goal, he said of his England hopes;
“I have to make sure that I am playing week in, week out, and we will see what happens…If I can play regularly, who knows? This is a fantastic opportunity to show what I can do.”
Although the winger is 29 now, his debut at the weekend during the Canaries 3-1 win over Bournemouth, could well be a sign of things to come for the club. Norwich manager Alex Neil will be looking to get the best out of him, and knows that if he can get his confidence up and get sustained performances, then Jarvis could well be the key to Norwich staying in the Premier League this season.