£7m man wanted Wolves or Aston Villa move; Now he could be fifth-choice

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For the first time this season, Craig Dawson took to the pitch in burgundy during the closing stages of West Ham United’s 3-1 UEFA Conference League win over FCSB last week.

Injury kept the veteran centre-half out of David Moyes’ side for the first month of the campaign. But it is a testament to West Ham’s newfound defensive depth that Dawson – one of the club’s most consistent and reliable players during Moyes’ second spell at the London Stadium – is unlikely to jump into the starting XI immediately when he regains full fitness.

West Ham have not completed the £12million signing of Germany international Thilo Kehrer with the intention of using the former PSG hero from the bench. Kehrer, despite some notable mistakes in his early Hammers career, appears to have already struck up an impressive understanding with the excellent Kurt Zouma.

Photo by Alex Gottschalk/vi/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Moyes also has Nayef Aguerd, his £27m summer signing, set to return from ankle surgery. Dan-Axel Zagadou could also add further competition for a place in Moyes’ starting line-up; the free agent was offered a four-year contract in the English capital. West Ham, the news says are in pole position to sign the one-time Dortmund star despite interest from Lyon.

So where does that leave Dawson? Or give him the nickname he earned during West Ham’s run to the Europa League semi-finals, ‘Ballon D’Awson’? Assuming Zagada arrives, Dawson could potentially move from one of Moyes’ first picks to fifth in the West Ham pecking order. Life, as they say, comes at you fast.

Should Craig Dawson have left West Ham United?

Of course, opportunities should keep coming for Dawson between now and January. West Ham’s Conference League commitments will stretch Moyes’ squad to the limit. But when Dawson does will find himself stuck on the bench for the next few months, missing out on a deadline day move to Aston Villa or Wolverhampton Wanderers could leave a stomach ache in his stomach.

“Wolves made an offer. I think it came pretty close but it didn’t cross the line,” Moyes admitted last week; Bruno Lage’s side failed to meet West Ham’s £7m asking price.

Of course, there is no guarantee that Dawson will have an easier game time at Wolves or Villa. Bruno Lage has instilled a four-man backline at Molineux this season; Max Kilman and Nathan Collins firmly established themselves first. Aston Villa, meanwhile, likely saw Dawson as competition for Ezri Konsa and Tyrone Mings, rather than a guaranteed starter.

Former West Brom stalwart, per Sky, was interested in returning to the Midlands. And if Dawson does indeed find himself sliding down from West Ham, the saga is likely to return with a vengeance in January.

Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images

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