Several clubs were interested in taking the 20-year-old on loan from Leicester, and Barnes was incredibly close to joining Leeds United, where he had already picked out a squad number.
But when Albion came calling, the young midfielder jumped at the chance to be involved in Darren Moore’s project and play closer to home.
“Before he joined, West Brom weren’t the only club in for him,” said Dowling, formerly of Nottingham Forest. “There were many other clubs in the Championship and many were willing to pay Harvey a lot more money than West Brom.
“I think that says a lot about the boy, his family, and the way this club managed that situation.
“He saw the project here, how Darren wants to play, and how he will flourish. We’ve seen that in certain games, like Sheffield Wednesday.”
Barnes could be recalled by Leicester in January, but Dowling says the England under-21 international is enjoying himself at the Baggies and he believes the best thing for the youngster’s development is to stay for the season.
“As we speak there’s been no contact from Leicester in terms of him going back,” said Dowling. “Obviously we speak to them regularly about his development which is natural in any loan.
“In terms of the speculation with Harvey going back, we can’t say definitely either way.
“He’s not our player, he’s come in and done very well, hence the speculation. That’s also come from the Demarai Gray injury
“I think that shows how well he’s doing here. The way he’s adapted to our club and the way Darren has got him playing in his system suits him.
“Selfishly, from a West Brom point of view, if he stays with us for the whole season he will threaten Leicester’s first team next July.
“I personally think if he goes back in January, I wouldn’t have thought he’d be in the first team, although he’d be around their squad. Is that the best thing for Harvey Barnes’s career? No.
“Ultimately, if Leicester say 'we’re recalling you', Harvey can’t say 'I’m staying.'
“But I think Harvey’s enjoying himself and he sees what the club is doing for him. Ultimately it is down to Leicester but I think Harvey will have a say.”
Elsewhere, Ahmed Hegazi scored a 19th minute goal in Egypt’s 2-0 win over Swaziland yesterday in an African Cup of Nations qualifier.
And the Baggies have taken even more tickets for Saturday’s trip to Wigan Athletic.
Having now sold 3,300 seats for the visit to the DW Stadium, Albion have requested 879 more, taking the total allocation up to 4,288.