Aston Villa has confirmed what is almost certainly their final signing of the January transfer window, and it will indeed be Tottenham Hotspur winger Simon Dawkins. The 25-year-old Dawkins, who can also play in a central attacking role, has spent the past two seasons on loan to the San Jose Earthquakes and will be out of contract in June. Dawkins will wear the number
25 24 shirt and is expected to be available for selection against Everton on Saturday.
Dawkins was a consistent performer for San Jose in his two seasons with the club, scoring 14 goals in 53 games. He was a crucial part of the team's success in the 2012 season, acting as one of San Jose's primary creative forces in a season where the Earthquakes were the most potent attacking force in MLS. San Jose scored 13 more goals than the second highest scoring team in the league, and though Dawkins didn't put up the gaudy goal scoring numbers of teammates Chris Wondolowski, Alan Gordon and Steven Lenhart, his speed and trickery down the wing was key to the team's success.
As a fairly obsessive MLS fan, I've seen a whole lot of Dawkins over the past few years, and I'm cautiously optimistic that this deal will turn out well. Dawkins isn't the most exciting talent in MLS, but he's a good, solid attacking player that fills a major need on this squad. He's likely a bit better than Marc Albrighton all things considered, and he's a far better fit for Villa's style of play. Will Dawkins set the world on fire? Most likely not. But there's a very good chance he could make some solid contributions this season, and if he impresses in his loan stint he could be signed for free in the summer.
This isn't the most thrilling move of all time, and the frustration from Villa fans that more wasn't done is certainly understandable. But the signing of Dawkins is essentially a no-risk venture with some nice upside potential. It's understandable to be skeptical, but there is quite literally zero downside, and given the financial situation at the club that's about as much as anyone could have realistically hoped for.