Former Premier League striker Noel Whelan has encouraged Aston Villa to snap up Craig Dawson from West Ham in January. Unai Emery will look to bolster his defence in the coming months.
Dawson spent much of his career under the radar with the likes of West Brom and Watford, however really impressed for the Hammers last season after joining permanently following a successful loan spell. The 32-year-old made 34 appearances in the Premier League and was also named in the Europa League Team of the Season after getting knocked out in the semi-finals.
Dawson was reportedly close to signing for Wolves in the summer until the deal fell through and Football Insider have since claimed he will look to depart the London Stadium in January and be closer to his family in Cheshire. With the centre-back eager to head further north, Whelan has urged Aston Villa to make a move for him.
Speaking to Football Insider, Whelan said: “He’s a leader, and when times are tough you need someone like that who can be vocal and organise. He can do that – we saw the difference he made when he came to West Ham, because he was one of their best players for a time.
“That experience could be vital to Aston Villa while they’re in a really sticky, tough period. Yes, it’s not going to be long-term. But for the short term, to barricade that defence – it could be a smart move.”
With Dawson’s contract set to expire at the end of the season, David Moyes’ said could allow him to leave on the cheap this winter. The Rochdale-born defender would be significantly cheaper than their previous purchase of Diego Carlos from Sevilla, who set Villa back around £26 million before he suffered a long-term injury only two matches into the campaign.
The Midlands club are currently relying on the centre-back partnership of Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa, while their back-ups consist of Jan Bednarek and Calum Chambers. Unai Emery has already been linked with a number of defensive targets and is also said to be interested in bringing his former Vilarreal colleague Pau Torres to Villa Park.