David Moyes should urge West Ham United to trigger their clause to sign Craig Dawson permanently, regardless of the Watford defender meeting the number of games needed to make the deal obligatory.
According to Claret & Hugh, the Irons hierarchy are 99 per cent certain that Dawson will remain at the London Stadium beyond the end of his season-long loan.
The Hammers’ agreement with Watford has always been said to feature a £2m option to purchase the 30-year-old at the end of the season, though is now thought to also feature an obligation based on a set number of appearances.
Both West Ham and Watford are understood to be keeping the exact number close to their chests, but claims coming out of the London Stadium suggest that a deal will go through either way.
Fellow Irons insider ExWHUemployee has also shared that West Ham’s deal for Dawson features an obligation to buy dependent on games played, and that the claret and blue outfit believe Dawson will remain under Moyes’ wing next term.
Dawson had to wait until December to make his West Ham debut when fielded away to Southampton, but is yet to miss a beat in the Premier League since with 10 starts and 900 minutes of top-flight action to his name this season.
The Rochdale-born enforcer also opened two of the Hammers’ three FA Cup ties, scoring the winning goal away to Stockport County in the third round for his first of three West Ham goals across all competitions to date.
While the exact number of appearances needed for West Ham’s option to purchase Dawson to become obligatory remains to be seen, what is no longer in doubt is the defender’s importance to Moyes and the Irons’ push for a European qualifying berth.
He certainly had to bide his time on the bench and even out in the cold, having not featured in a matchday squad until Premier League game-week 12, but Dawson is firmly one of the first names on the teamsheet now.
A £2m fee will also prove a bargain for a player who is offering as much as Dawson with the Watford loanee a vocal presence at the back every week, which proved a welcome boost for Issa Diop when the Frenchman deputised for the injured Angelo Ogbonna against Sheffield United earlier this month.
Dawson guided Diop through the game while Liverpool’s alleged January target earned only his second top-flight start since September, and it allowed the pair to form a formidable wall that stayed mostly intact during Sunday’s London derby win over Tottenham Hotspur as well.
Moyes always considered Dawson to be a “fantastic” and experienced defender, who was also singled out for praise by Arsenal icon Martin Keown recently.
“I think Dawson is a great bit of business. Tarkowski was meant to be coming in for £35m and Moyes has said: ‘No, I don’t pay that sort of money’. He came in as fourth-choice and now he’s key,” Keown told talkSPORT.
It will surely take a startling turn of events for West Ham to now pass up on the chance to sign Dawson permanently, especially at such a low fee, even if their option only ever stays an option to buy.