Spurs sprung a surprise this week, as they reached an agreement to sign 20-year-old centre back, Eric Dier, from Sporting Lisbon for a reported £4 Million fee. New manager, Mauricio Pochettino, has been on the look-out for a central defender – Tottenham have been linked with a succession of candidates from Toby Alderweireld to Ron Vlaar. Will the new signing fit the bill?
Why is he right for Spurs?
Dier has an unconventional background, having spent most of his formative years in Portugal despite having English parents. His family emigrated when he was seven, where his talent was spotted at a young age. He was lucky enough to progress through the respected Sporting Lisbon youth system, which has produced such luminaries as Luis Figo and Christiano Ronaldo.
It is this football education that marks him out among young English players. The Sporting academy, much like the Barcelona and Ajax equivalents, teaches the philosophy that all positions should learn good technique and be comfortable on the ball. Despite being a 6′ 2” central defender, Dier is no exception.
He also possesses surprising pace and is versatile enough to play at right back or even in midfield. This makes him the perfect fit for new Spurs coach Mauricio Pochettino’s system. The Argentine expects his centre backs to cover out wide as his fullbacks push up, and to be mobile enough to play a high defensive line. He also expects them to play the ball out from the back, not just punt it down the field (Michael Dawson, I’m looking at you).
In addition, as a right footer, Dier would make a natural partner to Jan Vertonghen.
At just 20, is he ready?
Sporting certainly thought so. He made 15 appearances in their first team last season and was being lined up to replace the likely departing Marcos Rojo – ironically linked with a move to Southampton. The Portuguese club didn’t want to sell – Tottenham’s bid activated a surprisingly low buy-out clause in Dier’s contract.
Spurs are apparently still interested in Villarreal centre back, Mateo Musacchio, so Dier may be more of a long term option. Whether he is quite ready for the rigours of the Premier League remains to be seen, but given his potential, this signing looks like shrewd business by Tottenham.
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Do you think Dier will make a good signing? Who else should Spurs be targeting? Please let us know your opinion in the comments section below.