According to reports from Sky Sports, West Ham have seen a £12million bid for Craig Dawson rejected by West Brom with the now-Championship outfit intent on ensuring they don’t part with the commanding centre-back on the cheap.
The former Rochdale youngster was one of the few consistent performers at the Hawthorns last season as the Baggies failed to stave off relegation, so Premier League interest is no great surprise.
But what would happen if West Ham up the ante in their pursuit of the 28-year-old and get a deal over the line? Football FanCast take a look at the potential consequences of Dawson joining Manuel Pellegrini’s ranks at the London Stadium this summer.
The fact West Ham appear to still be in the market for a centre-half despite already pulling off a club-record deal for Issa Diop suggests Pellegrini is far from overawed with the defensive options already at the club. Angelo Ogbonna and Winston Reid are both commanding centre-backs, but the latter has really struggled with injury over the last few years and considering some absolute genius decided to hand him a contract until 2023, at which time he’ll be well into his mid-thirties, the east Londoners could probably do with offloading him this summer.
Reid is a fan favourite at the London Stadium, but his performances over the few years just haven’t justified that kind of deal and it’s clear Pellegrini’s looking to bring in fresh blood this summer – for reasons we’ll come onto shortly.
There’s been plenty of controversy about Declan Rice’s contract situation with many fans feeling the club should offer the young centre-back significantly improved terms after breaking into the starting XI under David Moyes. But just like Reid, the potential arrival of Dawson would appear to negatively impact Rice’s future with the Irons, at least in the short term.
It suggests Pellegrini wants a ready-made player rather a youngster still learning his trade. While that doesn’t mean Rice will be completely frozen out by the Argentine, it will probably result in him having to settle for a spot on the bench most weeks rather than in the starting XI.
The Hammers have the option of extending his contract by another twelve months with his current terms due to expire next summer, meaning Dawson’s arrival won’t immediately create a polarising situation. But should Rice spend most of next term on the bench, he may well push for a move away in 2019 rather than agreeing a new deal with the club to find first-team football elsewhere.
West Ham were hopeless defensively all-round last season, but set pieces were one of the key issues. Only two Premier League sides conceded more goals from set pieces throughout 2017/18 while the Hammers were also in the division’s bottom half for goals scored from them as well. For a club pushing to be in the top eight next season, that simply isn’t good enough.
Dawson though, is the perfect player to remedy that having developed under the guidance of one of the Premier League’s greatest ever set piece strategists in Tony Pulis. Dawson notched up eight goals combined during the 2015/16 and 2016/17 seasons, while the Baggies’ defensive record during that time was pretty formidable with just 17 conceded across both campaigns – only one more than the Irons allowed in during last term alone.
Dawson didn’t score so many goals and the Midlands outfit weren’t quite so solid from dead ball situations last time out, but his aerial power and experience in an organised set piece system could make a drastic difference to West Ham’s efforts.
So, West Ham fans, should your club swoop for Dawson? Let us know by voting below…