When Craig Dawson left West Bromwich Albion for Watford in 2019, few would have predicted that the centre-back would go on to be starring in the Premier League and in Europe for West Ham United three years later.
The Baggies signed the Englishman from Rochdale in 2010 and he would go on to make 225 appearances during his time at the Hawthorns, contributing 15 goals and 12 assists.
Dawson’s last season for the club saw him make 43 appearances in the Championship with the Baggies as they finished fourth, contributing three goals and two assists, with WhoScored awarding him a solid 6.96 rating for his performances across the season.
It was perhaps no surprise that the centre-back would earn a move back to the Premier League with the Hornets and aged 29, it seemed as if the £5.5m fee West Brom received wouldn’t be too bad a deal, especially when he struggled in his debut season with the Vicarage Road outfit.
Dawson would make 29 appearances for Watford in the 2019/20 campaign as they were relegated from the top tier but a loan move to West Ham the following summer would see him really establish himself as a top defender at the highest level.
Impressive performances in his debut campaign with the Hammers would see them sign him permanently in 2021 and he was a mainstay in David Moyes’ side last season as they secured European football with a top-eight finish in the Premier League, as well as reaching a Europa League semi-final.
The 32-year-old was one of the stars in the Irons’ side as they were knocked out by eventual winners Eintracht Frankfurt in the semi-final, with his performances earning him a spot in the Europa League ‘Team of the Season’.
Michail Antonio was full of praise for the impact that Dawson has had during his time at the London Stadium on the Football Daily Podcast saying:
“He’s been unbelievable, he’s been a rock at the back, he’s like an old-school centre-half. He’s tough, he fights, he’s solid, he’s not scared to get down and deep, he’s been quality and he’s been solid for us. He came in not really to play, he’s taken his opportunity he’s taken his shirt and he’s not giving it up.”
Considering that West Brom have managed just three clean sheets in the Championship so far this season, they definitely could have used a player of Dawson’s quality in the heart of their defence now, so must be regretting letting him go for so cheap in 2019.