Southampton defender Jannik Vestergaard has revealed he came close to leaving the south coast side in January, but was focused on their efforts amid interest from West Ham United this summer.
West Ham had toyed with the idea of signing Vestergaard on loan this summer, with the Daily Mail’s Craig Hope touting interest in late September after Burnley refused to lower their £50million valuation of James Tarkowski.
Vestergaard had fallen out of favour at St. Mary’s last season, with manager Ralph Hasenhuttl initially favouring the 19-cap Denmark international over the opening months but only awarding him six starts in the Premier League following the turn of the year.
The Irons ultimately did not strike a deal with the Saints, and soon turned attentions to failed bids to sign Olympique de Marseille’s Duje Caleta-Car and Bayer Leverkusen’s Jonathan Tah before settling on Watford’s Craig Dawson following the closure of the international transfer market.
Southampton only valued Vestergaard at in excess of the £18m they paid to Borussia Monchengladbach for his services in 2018 when Leicester City were courting his services this January, having identified the centre-half as a £15m target.
Vestergaard, who has opened two of Southampton’s four league games this term, has now revealed he came close to leaving the south coast back in the winter but was focused on the Saints this summer.
“I won’t lie and say a move hasn’t been in my thoughts,” Vestergaard told Goal. “I came close [to leaving] in January, but the club and the manager told me they wanted me to stay and then I stayed.
“This summer there has been some contact from interesting clubs, for example in Spain, but only my agent knows the details, not me. I have been dedicated to the idea of continuing at Southampton, and I certainly feel my manager believes in me and my qualities.
“I wanted to stay, just like other players chose to stay this summer, because we want to be a part of the great project going on here.”
After Vestergaard seemingly snubbed a move to the London Stadium and West Ham’s other ventures failed to materialise, the Irons struck a one-season loan for Dawson whilst taking a £2m option to buy the Watford man next summer.
Of the pair, Vestergaard performed marginally at a higher level than Dawson in some respects during last season’s Premier League campaign, but the Hornets loanee also had some redeemable qualities.
The Saints’ and Hornets’ aces recorded the same number of tackles a game (1.0) as each other in the top-flight last term, but Vestergaard eclipsed Dawson for interceptions (1.37 to 1.17) and clearances (5.11 to 3.83), per SofaScore.
Vestergaard further recorded a greater number of ground duels won (1.63 to 1.45) and aerial duels won (4.26 to 3.52), though Dawson came out on top in terms of shots blocked (1.1 to 0.47), times dribbled past (0.48 to 0.89) and errors leading to shots (0.0 to 0.11).
Given how comparable the two are, Dawson’s initial arrival on loan and option to buy for £2m next year suggests West Ham were able to save themselves £16m, should Southampton have pushed for a permanent deal to be included in any loan agreement.
Dawson also offers Moyes what the Irons coach feels to be a “fantastic” professional, who brings 182 career Premier League appearances to the London Stadium.
“I’m delighted to welcome Craig to the club,” Moyes told West Ham’s official website. “He is a fantastic professional with proven quality and experience in the Premier League.
“I know he will be a great addition to the dressing-room – he is a committed and determined character. We wish Craig all the best during his time here and I look forward to working with him for the rest of the season.”