Watford Opinion: Hornets have struck a bargain with the signing of Dawson
The 29-year-old has put pen to paper on a lucrative four-year deal at Vicarage Road, which should keep him at Hertfordshire until the summer of 2023, Watford Observer understands.
Dawson’s future at the Hawthorns was always going to be up in the air following the Baggies’ failure to secure a return to the Premier Leauge at the first time of asking, although Watford were not alone in the race to sign the 29-year-old this summer. The Sun reported back in May that Burnley were lining up a £15 million bid to bring Dawson to Turf Moor.
Hence, it has to be said that the Hornets have finally managed to fend off interest from their Premier League rivals in the race to sign the West Brom man. Watford boss Javi Gracia was in the market for a few fresh faces and the arrival of Dawson is likely to hand the club a massive boost early in the transfer window, as the Hornets aim to make a renewed attempt to challenge for a European spot next season.
Dawson made a total of 45 appearances in all competitions for West Brom this past season, as the Baggies crashed out of the race for promotion with a penalty-shootout defeat at the hands of Midlands rivals Aston Villa in the semi-finals of the playoffs.
The 29-year-old registered a total of 225 appearances for the Baggies in all competitions since earning a move from League Two outfit Rochdale back in the summer of 2010, scoring 15 goals and assisting 12 in the process.
A former youth international for England, Dawson earned 15 caps for his nation at the U-21 level and also represented Great Britain at the 2012 London Olympics. The 29-year-old has tonnes of Premier League experience under his belt and it is not difficult to see why Watford have landed themselves a huge bargain.
To put things into perspective, it is an absolute no-brainer that Watford have struck gold with the signing of Craig Dawson so early in the summer transfer window. The Hornets were not crying out for defensive reinforcements as such but a player of his calibre could be expected to add a lot of depth and stability at the back with his wealth of Premier League experience.
Watford showed plenty of promise in the Premier League last time and looked set to make a much-awaited return to Europe but a slump in form towards the end of the campaign, coupled with a defeat at the hands of Man City in the FA Cup final ended their hopes of achieving a miracle.
However, truth be told, they were one of the most consistent teams outside the top-six last season and one would expect them to go one step further next term and secure qualification to the Europa League.
The Hornets shipped as many as 59 goals in 38 league outings last season and it doesn’t require a rocket scientist to figure out that defence is one area which they need to work on ahead of the upcoming campaign.
Gracia rotated the likes of Christian Kabasele and Adrian Mariappa alongside Craig Cathcart at the heart of the defence but all the three aforementioned players left a lot to be desired in terms of marking of the opposition inside the box.
An absolute beast in the air, Dawson is a big strong centre-back who seemingly has all the attributes to dominate the opposition in the Premier League and the 29-year-old might as well prove to be an upgrade on Watford’s existing defensive options.
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The Englishman has arguably been one of West Brom’s most consistent players over the years and he could go on to play a big role for the Hornets in the times to follow, given that he is still only 29 and very much in his prime.