England U21 star Eric Dier is set to spark a transfer scramble among the Premier League’s top clubs - including Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur - after snubbing a new deal with Sporting Lisbon.
The versatile 20-year-old, who can play either as a defender or defensive midfielder, emigrated to Portugal with his mother as a child. He went on to sign professional terms with Sporting in 2010.
Dier has already spent time in England in a professional environment, joining Everton on a six-month loan in January 2011 to help his development. He returned to his parent club’s youth team the following year, before breaking into the ‘B’ team at the start of the 2012/13 campaign.
He got his first senior break that same season, but has failed to become a regular both in that season and the one that followed last. That could mean the end, as Dier has subsequently turned down a contract offer until 2018 at the Estadio Jose Alvalade. The Daily Express claims that has alerted the top clubs.
With just one-year left on his current deal, Sporting now have to decide whether they sell on the cheap this summer or risk losing him for nothing next summer. Either way, it’s alerted a host of clubs over the possibility of making the addition.
2010 MANCHESTER UNITED INTEREST
Manchester United are one of those who are keen, with the former Premier League champions showing an interest as far back as 2010 when Sir Alex Ferguson was at the helm.
Much has changed at Old Trafford since then, with David Moyes subsequently coming and going for the Red Devils. Dutchman Louis van Gaal is now at the helm and looking to revamp a side in search of a new direction.
Dier would certainly fit the bill as a hungry young Englishman looking to make his mark, although that lack of first team action is sure to be a concern for Manchester United fans despite his young age.
Tottenham Hotspur, meanwhile, are another club who have welcomed a new manager this summer, with Mauricio Pochettino taking the reigns from Tim Sherwood in north London.
The former manager had a philosophy of bringing young players through at White Hart Lane - much like Pochettino at Southampton - and Dier would add to that if brought to Spurs in the transfer window.
WENGER TRACK RECORD
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has a track record of bringing young players to the club and getting the best out of them, and it could be the same with Dier if it’s the team in red from north London he ends up at.
Whether it’s players from their own academy or youngsters drafted in from elsewhere, the Gunners have regularly benefited through the likes of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Carl Jenkinson.
Dier would slot in perfectly with the aforementioned names at the Emirates Stadium, and the price will certainly be right for the frugal Arsenal manager given the player’s contract situation.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is the other Premier League manager to have been linked, and the Anfield outfit are another side who put their faith in youth last season.
Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge are just three exampled on Merseyside, and Dier would add to a growing crop of talented young Englishman plying their trade with the Reds.