Craig Dawson three starts away from permanent West Ham move

Craig Dawson is just three Premier League starts away from triggering a permanent switch to West Ham according to The Athletic.

The centre back, who is on loan from Watford, has become West Ham’s surprise star playing a key role in the Hammers’ successes this season.

When Dawson was signed in October there was believed to be a pre-contract agreement for a permanent transfer to be made if West Ham wanted to or if he made 15 appearances in the league (Claret and Hugh report 14 appearances).

Craig Dawson is on the verge of making his move to West Ham permanent for just £2 million.

Craig Dawson, West Ham.

Craig Dawson, West Ham. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

West Ham paid just £1 million for the loan fee and since the 30-year-old’s debut versus Southampton, he has played every minute of league football.

During this time David Moyes’ side, in the league, have kept six clean sheets and Dawson has scored three goals, most recently a header in the 2-0 win over Leeds. He also scored an FA Cup Third Round winner against Stockport County.

Moyes is using him as a ‘penalty box defender’ this focuses on Dawson’s strengths, therefore getting the best out of him and showing why he has rejuvenated his career.

Fascinatingly, Dawson is in the bottom 10% for true tackles per 1,000 opponent touches (this measures tackles won or lost and fouls). This implies his positioning is so good he doesn’t have to tackle too much. It also may be a nod to the great protection he gets from Rice and Soucek who often screen the back four so well.

The defender’s fantastic form has led to much praise and for some to claim he deserves a call up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad.

This still remains unlikely with Southgate often choosing younger players. However, England were heavily reliant on set pieces during the 2018 World Cup and did not score many from open play during last year’s UEFA Nations League. This is where Dawson’s aerial ability may come in.

The likes of Harry Maguire, Tyrone Mings, Eric Dier and Conor Coady have all scored less than Dawson this season. Manchester City’s John Stones and Everton’s Michael Keane are the only English defenders to have scored the same number of goals as Dawson this campaign.

For now, Dawson’s main focus will be on trying to finish in a European place with West Ham but he is likely to staying with the Hammers next season, just like Mark Noble and Lukasz Fabianski, who committed their futures to the club this week.