Reports coming from the Telegraph allege that Manchester United will need to fork out around £50 million, should they want to sign Tottenham’s Eric Dier over the summer.
It is believed that Dier – listed as one of manager Jose Mourinho’s prime targets during the upcoming window – wouldn’t be allowed to leave for less than the North London side’s valuation.
A move for the versatile 23-year-old would see him almost double his current wages of £70,000-per-week at Old Trafford, with it thought that he’s seen as a long-term replacement for Michael Carrick.
What could the England international bring to Old Trafford?
For the past few Premier League seasons the 23-year-old has been one of the best up-and-coming young British talents, and he’s firmly established himself as an England and Spurs first-team regular.
The obvious quality that Dier could bring to Manchester is his prior experience of the top-flight, as unlike signing a player from a foreign league he would need little time to settle down into Manchester life.
His calm and composed approach to play on the field would be perfectly suited at the back of the United midfield and, after eleven years of seeing Michael Carrick’s innate ability to dictate and lead the midfield, this is something that Mourinho will know is a vital trait for a potential successor to have.
Much like Carrick he doesn’t have a whole lot of pace to rely on but his footballing brain and clever vision more than make up for it both in defence and attack, with Dier able to read the game incredibly well. This makes his awareness of game situations consistently solid too – another necessary attribute for Mourinho.
There’s a now notorious versatility to his play that would lend himself well to Old Trafford too; his ability to play as a centre-back or a holding midfielder gives United much-needed added strength in depth.
Dier’s exceptional ability in the air also offers a lot from attacking set-pieces, with his impressive jump able to fashion goals out of nothing; with Carrick only managing 17 goals across over 300 appearances – this is a new quality that the England midfielder could bring to the club.
However, whether Dier could emulate Carrick’s efficiency and be as dependable in the middle of the Manchester United midfield is yet to be seen, with the Tottenham man prone to a number of individual mistakes this season for club and country – there’s no doubting that he would have massive shoes to fill.
It’s important to remember that Dier isn’t a natural central midfielder either; he burst on to the scene and spent 18 months as a centre-back, only recently being experimented further up the field.
It’s this that could prove to be the biggest gamble of all should the rumours linking him to Old Trafford be true; when a young Phil Jones announced his arrival in the United first-team under Sir Alex Ferguson it was believed that, despite his natural position being a central defender, that he could step into the void that the likes of Roy Keane and Paul Scholes left in the middle of the park.
Yet this hype failed to materialise on the pitch, and years down the line Jones has struggled to stake a claim for a regular first-team role – and it’s this that Mourinho will hope doesn’t happen with Dier.