Craig Dawson has proven himself to be an “absolutely brilliant” West Ham signing ahead of a prospective permanent move.

That is the view of former Premier League striker Noel Whelan who, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, claimed the 30-year-old had improved his teammates since joining the Irons.

As quoted by football.london, David Moyes has confirmed the Watford loanee is “close” to triggering a clause that will see him become a permanent West Ham player.

The centre-back has started 12 times and scored three goals in the Premier League since arriving in east London.

He now has a total of 194 top-flight games under his belt after spells at Watford and West Brom.

However, he did have to wait until December to make his first league outing for the Irons.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

Whelan admitted West Ham had been missing a defender of Dawson’s experience and quality.

Whelan told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “He’s been brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

“He’s the leader back there, that aggression of a player that they need.

“You can see that at set-pieces. We knew before the Leeds game, I was singling him out. He is the most dangerous player at set-pieces that they have and that went to show. 

“The way he defends, the way he comes around, his intelligence and experience in the game, that counts for so much more.

“People react to that, people trust that sort of player. With Diop there next to him as well, he’s become a better player next to Dawson.”

In other news, West Ham are preparing a major new contract offer, Football Insider can reveal.