West Ham signing Craig Dawson from Watford for £3million would be the transfer “deal of the year”, according to Noel Whelan.
The former Premier League striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, admitted it was “staggering” the 30-year-old could be available for so little.
The Athletic claim the centre-back is three starts away from triggering a £2million permanent purchase clause, having already paid a £1million loan fee.
Manager David Moyes confirmed Dawson was closing in a move after he made his 12th league appearance against Leeds United.
The Watford loanee also scored his third top-flight goal of the season in the 2-0 win over Marcelo Bielsa’s men.
Whelan admitted Dawson had established himself as a crucial player for Moyes and admitted a £3million fee was an absolute bargain.
Whelan told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “When you look at the consistency of the player and how important he is to that backline, the fee we’re talking, £3million? Wow.
“It’s staggering to think for that kind of player.
“He’s got that kind of experience and quality that you get from a top centre-half. He’s got the desire and need.
“For £3million, he’s got to be the deal of the year.”
Dawson made his Irons debut in the League Cup win over Stockport in November, but was forced to wait until December to make his first league appearance.
However, he has since started 12 consecutive top-flight games for the Hammers, losing just twice.