David Moyes must urge West Ham United to purchase Watford loanee Craig Dawson at the end of the season, even if Danny Mills expects the arrival of a defensive upgrade this summer.
While speaking with Football Insider, Mills expressed that he fully expects the Hammers to work on a deal to retain Dawson beyond his temporary terms.
But the former England defender does not expect Moyes and David Sullivan’s business in the transfer market to stop at signing the 30-year-old, who they have held a £2m option to buy since his arrival at the London Stadium in October.
Dawson had to wait until December to make his Irons debut but has since featured in 13 of the club’s 14 fixtures across all competitions, only sitting out January’s FA Cup fourth round win over Doncaster Rovers, and frequently impressing with his displays in claret and blue.
Insiders of the east London outfit have suggested that West Ham are 99 per cent certain of striking a deal to retain the Rochdale-born enforcer, and Mills believes Dawson would be a bargain if kept.
“He’s done very, very well for them up until now,” he said. “It’s a bargain, isn’t it? Let’s be honest, if you’re paying a loan fee, it will be more than that for a centre-half.
“Even if they bring in other players, why wouldn’t you keep him as a back-up to keep doing what he’s doing?
“David Moyes would have an honest conversation with him and say: ‘You’re maybe not going to play every single week, but I still want you around.’
“He seems like the sort of character that could accept that.”
Dawson made an instant impact once introduced to the West Ham backline, with his leadership helping Moyes’ men to keep five clean sheets in 11 Premier League outings.
The £3.5m-rated titan also scored the Irons’ vital third in January’s 3-2 win away to London rivals Crystal Palace, before netting his side’s sole effort in a 3-1 defeat to defending champions Liverpool.
Even if Moyes and Sullivan are to look at bringing another option in come the summer, like Mills expects and has been suggested, having a player of Dawson’s calibre could prove vastly beneficial in the event that the Hammers boss ever has to look deeper in his pecking order.
Dawson is proving his credentials as a West Ham player almost every week, despite being signed on the back of Watford’s relegation to the Championship, and is proving more incisive and aggressive in breaking up opposition play than Angelo Ogbonna.
Moyes lauds Ogbonna as a “magnificent” and “really important” player, yet the Italian offers fewer interceptions per game (1) than Dawson (1.5) – only Fabian Balbuena (1.8), who has not featured in the top-flight since December, offers more among West Ham’s current centre-backs, per WhoScored.
Dawson also blocks more shots (0.7) than Ogbonna (0.4) – only Issa Diop (1.3) stands in the way of a higher volume of strikes – and wins more aerial duels (2.6) than the 32-year-old (2.2) with the most among Moyes’ current centre-halves.
It is often hard to find a fault in Dawson’s performances, so if West Ham can keep the £42,000-per-week ace long-term for around just £2m, Sullivan and Moyes must get the deal done.