West Ham United manager David Moyes has confirmed that the Hammers have the option to buy Watford defender Craig Dawson at the end of the campaign when his loan spell with the club ends.
Dawson arrived as a late summer signing for West Ham making a season-long loan from Watford as he wanted to make a return to the Premier League following the Hornets’ relegation last term. The defender has been a revelation since breaking into the side and played a key role in helping them surprisingly mount a top-four challenge. He has helped them keep five clean sheets in 10 appearances so far (Sofascore).
It had been reported that Watford had offered the Hammers the chance to sign the defender permanently in January for around £3million. However, that deal was never sorted out in the winter window, and that means that Dawson’s future will now have to be revisited in the summer.
Speaking to the media, via Claret and Hugh, ahead of the Hammers’ clash with Manchester City, Moyes revealed there is a clause in the defender’s contract that will allow them the option to sign him permanently in the summer.
He said: “There’s a clause in there we’re aware of so, again we’re trying not to do anything to unsettle things. Behind the scenes we’re in a good position and in time you’ll see the things we are doing.
“Craig Dawson’s played really well, steady. We brought him in as, I wouldn’t say cover because I always thought he was more than that, but the team was doing well so it was difficult to get him in with Fabian, Angelo and Cressy in the team.”
Dawson has been an excellent performer for the Hammers and probably performed beyond expectations after being given the chance to start by Moyes over the last few months. The centre-back had to bide his time early on, but he has since been averaging 1.5 interceptions and 4.1 clearances per game as well as scoring two goals in the league (Sofascore).
It would be a major surprise if West Ham did not take the option to sign him permanently in the summer following this loan spell. It does seem like his long-term future is now away from Watford and that regardless of whether they earn promotion or not he will not be a part of their squad for next term.
Watford will hope they can get a decent fee for him and then look to replace him, and they will have had time to assess the right targets knowing that they were always likely to lose him in the summer. Dawson was a good performer for the Hornets, but they were not able to get as much out of him as West Ham and Moyes has been able to