West Ham United were able to keep centre-back Craig Dawson at the club this summer – but a move away from the London Stadium could still be on the cards in January.
That is according to The Sun, which suggests that a series of transfers could end up with the 32-year-old departing during the winter transfer window at the turn of the year.
Wolves were interested in making a move for Dawson on deadline day this summer, but a move could not be sanctioned with the Irons unable to find a suitable replacement ahead of the transfer deadline.
However, it is thought West Ham are preparing a £12m bid for Sheffield United and Republic of Ireland centre-back John Egan, which could be a signing that could potentially free up the possibility of a Dawson exit.
If the former West Bromwich Albion man was to leave the London Stadium this winter, what potential knock-on effects could it have for David Moyes’ side?
Big loss both on and off the pitch
The club only currently have four fit senior centre-backs at the club including Dawson at the time of writing, suggesting that the Irons would definitely need a replacement for the Rochdale-born defender if he were to leave the club – hence the reason Moyes tried and failed to bring in Jan Bednarek, which subsequently led to Dawson staying put.
Moyes knows all too well what it’s like to be short at centre-bac following the club’s injury crisis at the heart of defence last season, when Dawson was the only fit centre-back ahead of the club’s Europa League semi-final with Eintracht Frankfurt.
And having made 238 Premier League appearances, the east London club would be losing a highly experienced presence both on and off the pitch if GSB were to sanction a move away for Dawson this summer.
Former Hammer Tony Cottee has been among Dawson’s admirers since his arrival, so it does indeed seem that his exit would be a case of more than simply a gap in the defence.
Opportunity for Jamal Baptiste to shine
If West Ham were to let Dawson leave this summer, it may represent an opportunity for Jamal Baptiste to break into the first-team squad.
The 18-year-old is now part of the West Ham U21 squad and is highly rated by staff and supporters of the Irons. The departure of Dawson may create an opportunity to try and blood the youngster in both cup and Europa Conference League games.
The 6ft centre-back has already made an impression on the international stage at youth level, having made six appearances for the England U19 side, suggesting that Baptiste is also rated at international level as well as amongst his own club.
Would Dawson’s exit be just the opportunity Baptiste would need to showcase his abilities as a Premier League centre-back? It’s a question that we may see answered come January.