Why Celtic Must Make A Move For West Brom’s Craig Dawson
The 28-year-old versatile defender has been a constant fixture in the Baggies side that got relegated from the Premier League and his performances seem to have triggered the interest from up north, with the Hoops reportedly keen on signing him as they look to reinforce their defence ahead of the next campaign.
Celtic finished as the Scottish Premiership champions for the 7th season in a row and stand a chance to complete a consecutive domestic treble, having already lifted the League Cup, with the finals of the Scottish Cup against Motherwell lined up in just over a week.
Despite their continued trophy haul, Brendan Rodgers’ side haven’t been able to achieve the same level of dominance that they did in the 2016/17 treble-winning season. Their European campaign did not fare all that great once again and a major reason for this has been their vulnerability at the back.
Swedish right-back Mikael Lustig might have won his 7th Scottish League crown but the 31-year-old has endured a highly inconsistent season. Given that he is already 31 years old, Rodgers should look for a replacement. Moreover, Cristian Gamboa’s future at the club is far from secure, with him having struggled to break into the starting XI this term.
Anthony Ralston, after a blazing start to the season, has tailed off as well, largely due to injury problems and as a result, cannot be entrusted with first-team responsibilities next campaign. Considering all these factors, a new right-back should be a top priority on Rodgers’ summer shopping list.
The £15 million-rated Dawson would prove to be the right solution for the Scottish champions. The 28-year-old has been with West Brom since 2011 when he joined from Rochdale. Apart from a season-long loan with Bolton Wanderers (2012/13), the defender has spent all his time with the Baggies in the Premier League, gaining invaluable experience along the way.
The former England U-21 international has amassed over 170 appearances for the English club and has established himself as a key member of the side, especially in the past four seasons. A tall and strong right-back with great defensive nous and the ability to hit in accurate crosses from out wide, the 28-year-old will very much be a like to like replacement for Lustig at Celtic.
Moreover, Dawson can easily slot in as a centre-half, as he has done for most of the 2017/18 campaign. In his 31 appearances across all competitions this term, Dawson has lined up as a centre-back in 17 fixtures and has performed ably, which highlights his versatility.
A strong presence in the air, he has also demonstrated good tackling and blocking abilities and will also be able to bring his leadership qualities to Celtic.
It is no secret that the Bhoys have issues in the centre-half department as well, with Jozo Simunovic and Dedryck Boyata struggling while January signings Marvin Compper and Jack Hendry not doing that well either.
Bringing in Dawson would essentially help Celtic kill two birds with one stone, providing them with the opportunity to use the West Brom man in either position.
With West Brom getting relegated, Celtic should look to tempt Dawson away with the lure of European football and a chance to win silverware. However, the £15million valuation could prove to be a stumbling block in the deal.