David Moyes and West Ham United are edging closer to pulling off a transfer masterstroke with Watford loanee Craig Dawson only three starts away from sealing a £2m move.
That’s according to The Athletic, who report that the centre-half will trigger a clause in his temporary terms once he reaches 15 Premier League starts in claret and blue.
Moyes alluded to the clause during his post-game media duties following Monday’s 2-0 win over Leeds United, with the Irons boss praising Dawson for what he has added to the side.
“We brought him in, it took him a while until the Southampton game – I think it was – before he got a start, but that was because of the form of Fabian Balbuena and Angelo Ogbonna – but he has come in and added goals to us as well and his experience has been really important, and he is playing really well this season,” Moyes said, via quotes by football.london.
Dawson is yet to miss a second of Premier League football since opening the action at Southampton on December 29th, with the 30-year-old starting 12-straight games and scoring three times.
West Ham are noted to have paid Watford £1m to take the £42,000-per-week enforcer – who former Rangers manager boss Alex McLeish describes as a “wonderful professional” – on loan for the season, and will only have to pay a further £2m after his 15th top-flight start.
Additional sums may be due in the future dependent on the Hammers’ achievements, including their potential qualification for European football with the club presently fifth in the table but only two points shy of Chelsea in the last of the Champions League positions.
The centre-back will begin a two-year contract at the London Stadium from this summer after the purchase clause is activated, which could come as early as the Irons’ trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers on April 3.
West Ham’s potential retention of Dawson is noted to come three years after the claret and blue side failed to sign the defender from West Bromwich Albion for £12m, as the Baggies – who eventually sold the Rochdale-born titan to Watford for £5.5m a year later – demanded more.
West Ham retaining Dawson for £2m in potentially three games time will mark a transfer masterstroke by Moyes and the London Stadium hierarchy, as the defender has proven to be an absolute steal with his performances in claret and blue to date.
His statistics may not shine through compared to others, with Dawson making a successful tackle every 180 minutes – only Arsenal’s Kieran Tierney (270) and Crystal Palace’s Gary Cahill (195) are less frequent with their production among all Premier League centre-halves who have featured on five or more occasions to date, per WhoScored.
Dawson also ranks 27th for minutes between interceptions with one every hour – Balbuena (49.1 minutes) ranks 11th – yet his leadership and ability to attack set-pieces is what sets the Watford loanee apart from his peers.
“He’s the best attacker of set-pieces that I’ve ever come across in my managerial career,” Alan Pardew told The Athletic. “It’s incredible the amount of goals he scores as a defender and he’s had a positive impact on the defensive and offensive end for David Moyes.”
Gary Lineker even compared Dawson to Sergio Ramos for his efforts against Leeds on Monday, while ex-Premier League striker Chris Sutton told BBC Radio 5 Live (8/3, 20:56): “West Ham had a dreadful defensive record last season, and I think that shows how important Craig Dawson has been. He is a calming influence on them.”
For just £2m, plus a £1m loan fee, West Ham certainly hit gold in bringing Dawson to the London Stadium in what has proven to be a dream deal for Moyes.
AND in other news, West Ham face a £43m asking price to land a 24-y/o ace who “never gets tired”…