Why Eric Dier could still be crucial to Tottenham’s plans
Tottenham are planning to extend English midfielder Dier’s stay at the north London club with one full season still left on his current deal, after returning to action under new boss Jose Mourinho (h/t The Telegraph).
The 25-year old defensive midfielder is expected to receive at least £75,000-a-week under fresh terms to the contract he extended in 2016, since moving from Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon in the summer of 2014.
Dier, who lost his place within the squad earlier in the season under former manager Mauricio Pochettino, has seen a change of fortunes since the arrival of the Mourinho.
He has started in nearly all of Tottenham’s fixtures since the Portuguese’s appointment last month. So far, he has made 13 appearances this season and has one assist to his credit.
Since arriving from Portugal, the defensive midfielder has gone on to play 223 matches for the Lilywhites and has found the back of the net 11 times. He also has 10 assists under his belt.
It did not take Dier, who shifted to Portugal in his childhood, a lot of time to adjust to the new conditions in England, playing 28 league matches in his debut season with Tottenham.
However, Dier and his teammates finished fifth in the table in what was former boss Pochettino’s debut managerial season. The following season, he established himself as a regular, appearing in 37 of Tottenham’s overall 38 matches.
He was also one of the key players in a youthful Tottenham side that finished third that season, improving their own tally of a fifth-place finish.
It went from good to better for the midfielder as Tottenham finished a historical second in the 2016-17 season – their best ever performance in the Premier League since its creation in 1992-93. He made a total of 36 league appearances that term.
He held on to his regular role within the side until last season when he was struck with appendicitis. He later missed another major part of the campaign due to tonsillitis and a hip injury which eventually required surgery.
Dier made just 18 starts that season and since then, he failed to return to the first-team squad until just before Pochettino was sacked last month. However, Mourinho’s entrance has turned the tables for the midfielder, who is now being offered a more prominent role within the side.
Dier, who can play as a centre-back, would also offer Mourinho ample defensive cover, with Jan Vertonghen’s future at the club remaining an uncertainty until now.
The Belgian centre-back’s current deal is set to expire this coming summer and so far, everything has been tight-lipped regarding his future.
Moreover, Tottenham just have two defensive-minded midfielders within their ranks other than Dier – one is Victor Wanyama and the other a young Oliver Skipp.
Wanyama is now a long-forgotten man at the club, with the Kenyan being completely overlooked by Mourinho and former boss Pochettino, while Skipp is just out of the academy and still has a long way to go until he proves himself.
That said, a new deal for Dier does not seem to be the worst of ideas for a Tottenham side trying to climb up the table.
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Dier easily fits the mould of a Mourinho player, who is more defensive-minded. With the side lacking good defensive midfielders, tying Dier to the side for some more time feels like a move in the right direction.