The San Jose Earthquakes had been banking on the return of Simon Dawkins from Tottenham Hotspur as the last piece of their offseason puzzle. Instead, the talented midfielder was loaned to EPL side Aston Villa just hours before the close of the January transfer window. Dawkins could still make his way back to MLS, but not before the opening of the transfer window in June.
In a Barclay’s Premier League transfer window deadline special, Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Simon Dawkins has been loaned to Aston Villa. According to their official twitter account, Villa has secured the services of Dawkins through the end of the EPL season.
"I worked for two years to get over my injury and regain my fitness and now I’m really motivated to make the most of this opportunity at Villa," said Dawkins in a statement published on the Aston Villa website.
Dawkins has played the last two year in Major League Soccer with the San Jose Earthquakes. The 25-year old totaled 14 goals in 54 appearances for the Quakes in two seasons on loan from Tottenham. An outside midfielder with a penchant for holding possession into the center of the pitch, Dawkins also contributed 3 assists.
"Tottenham have been great with me and the past two seasons with San Jose have really kick-started my career," continued Dawkins. "I never lost my belief and everything I’ve been through has made me stronger mentally as a player and as a person."
The Earthquakes welcomed Dawkins to San Jose at the tail end of each of the past two preseason camps, and the Englishman quickly adapted to the style of play in MLS. According to the MLS Castrol Index, an objective measure of player performance, Dawkins was statistically a top-25 performer in each of his two seasons with the Quakes (#21 in 2011 and #23 in 2012). Last year, the Spurs loanee was an integral contributor to a team that finished with the best record in the MLS regular season, capturing the franchise’s second ever Supporters’ Shield.
Thought to be the last piece of the puzzle in terms of returning an intact squad for the upcoming 2013 season, Dawkins will instead play in England through at least the end of May. With the MLS secondary transfer window expected to open in late June, Dawkins could still find his way back in San Jose if the Earthquakes and Tottenham can come to an agreement at that time. According to a spokesman with the Quakes, general manager John Doyle has stated that scenario as a possibility.
For at least the start of the regular season, the Earthquakes will need to look elsewhere for help at Dawkins’ preferred position of left midfielder. The to candidate to make head coach Frank Yallop’s Starting XI is Shea Salinas.
Entering his sixth season of MLS, Salinas started the bulk of the Quakes games at the start of last season as the team waiting for Dawkins to integrate himself back into the squad. In combination with right midfielder Marvin Chavez, the Earthquakes boasted two speedsters on the wings that were very effective in stretching opposing defenses and propelling San Jose to a 4-1-1 start. When Salinas suffered a broken collarbone in a match at New York Red Bulls, Dawkins stepped in as the regular starter and the team won their next three games.
In addition to Salinas, the Earthquakes also have second-year player Sam Garza available to fill in for the departed Dawkins. In his rookie campaign, Garza was limited by various ailments and was unable to make much of a contribution, but the Generation Adidas signing entered preseason camp this year fully healthy and with a renewed vigor to prove he belongs in coach Yallop’s regular player rotation.