West Ham have made three loan signings this season, Jesse Lingard joined from Manchester United in January and is grabbing the headlines for his blistering start to life in London.
Another was Said Benrahma who’s loan move was turned into a £25million permanent deal in January to make room for Lingard’s arrival.
However, it is the first loan move The Hammers made that has arguably made the biggest difference to the team, Craig Dawson.
The 30-year-old arrived from newly relegated Watford on a season-long deal to very little fanfare and a mixed reaction from supporters.
It was two months until West Ham boss David Moyes handed Dawson his Hammers debut against Southampton. Since that day he has only missed one match, an FA Cup tie against League One outfit Doncaster Rovers.
In that time Dawson has played ten league matches and been involved in five clean sheets and just one defeat as West Ham have climbed the table to fourth place.
West Ham travel to the Etihad Stadium to take on Manchester City on Saturday, February 27 and it seems Dawson would be quite relieved if Sergio Aguero remains unavailable for selection for the league leaders.
Speaking to fans via the West Ham Twitter account Dawson answered a number of questions about his time at West Ham and his career in general, including who the toughest opponent he has ever come up against:
“Aguero. He’s always on the move, he’s quality on both feet and obviously, the players at Man City have the quality to find him.”
Dawson was coy when asked who his best friend at the club was: “[It’s] difficult to pick one player because the team’s so tight and together. But it’s a great set of lads and everyone gets on with other.” he said.
He was straight to the point when asked who the best player in training was: “Dec [Declan Rice]. [I] didn’t realise how good he was until you see him day in and day out. The level he’s at now is unbelievable but he’s also got incredible potential. He’s quality but he works extremely hard every day in training.”
Dawson named Michail Antonio as the “hard as nails” player in the team saying the striker just “brushes people aside like they are not even there.”
One answer that will be music to the fans ears was when he asked what has been the most memorable moment of his Hammers career to date:
“My debut was special. Really good to keep a clean sheet, it was a tough match. But probably Spurs. Without fans, it’s not the same. But you know it’s an important game. We knew we needed to win it.”
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The defender was of course referring to West Ham’s 2-1 win over Tottenham on Sunday, a win that saw the Hammers put a nine-point gap between them and their London rivals as well as leap into the top-four ahead of fellow Londoners Chelsea.
Dawson is currently due to return to his parent club at the end of the season. However, a source close to the club has revealed that if he were to play between another five to ten matches then The Hammers would be obliged to sign him on a permanent deal from Watford.
Whether West Ham sign Dawson due to a pre-existing agreement or simply because it is the sensible move to make a deal for the 30-year-old is reported to be in the region of £2.5-£3m.