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Manchester United ‘cautiously optimistic’ of signing Eric Dier this summer

Tottenham Hotspur central midfielder Eric Dier has been linked with a £40 million move to Manchester United this summer, with it previously reported that Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino had warned United off his player, seemingly in a bid to either keep him at the club this summer, or keep him grounded amid a Premier League title charge against Chelsea this season. Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has a problem to solve this summer and that will be to replace Michael Carrick as the 35-year-old has not yet been offered a one-year extension, which was suggested earlier in the season. At this moment in time, Carrick could play his last competitive match at Old Trafford against Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Sunday 21st May 2017, with his last ever match at the Theatre of Dreams coming with his testimonial, which will be played a fortnight later on Sunday 4th June 2017. There are many players who could fill in for Carrick in this United side, perhaps not do the job he does, but a version of it. Eric Dier could do just that.

What is being reported and by who?

A month ago, Manchester United were linked with Eric Dier but Matt Law of the Telegraph wrote that Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino had warned Manchester United off their midfielder. It was suggested that Jose Mourinho was going to guarantee Dier of a place in his midfield if he could persuade Spurs to sell the 23-year-old. The resulting comment from the Spurs manager would be an answer for Mourinho, no chance. Dier may hold a key to this move, should there be interest from the Portuguese manager, as the player’s preference is to play in the holding midfield position, something United will need to recruit for as Michael Carrick looks set to leave the club as a free agent this summer. Something for Mourinho to work on, it would seem. A week ago, James Ducker of the Telegraph reported that United were ‘cautiously optimistic’ about landing Dier this summer, in what would be a £40 million deal, or thereabouts. This report also carried another in which Spurs chairman Daniel Levy was renowned for being a tough negotiator and the defender of the club when it came to buying and selling players, which is something Manchester United and former manager, Sir Alex Ferguson have encountered in the past. It was now for Jose Mourinho to experience if Dier really is one of his targets this summer.

What type of player is Eric Dier?

Eric Dier is a defensive minded player who predominantly plays in the central defensive midfield role but has also played as a central defender and even a right back, so he does offer a utilitarian type role for the club he plays for. Dier is English, which is something that has been stated about Jose Mourinho’s interest in the player, along with that of Michael Keane, who left the Old Trafford club nearly two years ago under the management of Louis van Gaal. Dier normally plays in a five or two-man midfield, sometimes playing with Victor Wanyama as the furthest back midfielder, of playing in a two-man midfield with Christian Eriksson. Dier may not be the player many want to see playing for United, especially after the spat with Ander Herrera earlier in the season, of which the Spaniard is yet to see any kind of retribution for. Dier seems to be impressive in the Premier League this season, making 31 appearances, scoring twice for Spurs. Dier maintains an 87% pass success rate, which is just below Carrick’s 89% pass rate, suggesting he could apply himself in that area. Dier averages six defensive actions per match but has committed two defensive errors this season also. Dier at 23 is a player rising through the ranks of English football but still has some things to learn, but will serve as a presence in the midfield, possibly along with Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba, which makes you wonder how dominant United could be predominantly playing a 4-3-3 formation.

Likelihood of the transfer?

Manchester United were said to be ‘cautiously optimistic’ in James Ducker’s report for the Telegraph a week ago, which suggests United were hopeful of luring Dier to Old Trafford, but recognise the problems involved in signing the player, especially having to negotiate with Daniel Levy, something Sir Alex Ferguson had problems with in luring Michael Carrick and Dimitar Berbatov to the Theatre of Dreams. If Dier, whose contract with Spurs will run out in the summer of 2021, keeping him with the North London club for another four years, which could be one of the factors in a deal not being struck, or one which means United will have to pay a lot more for the player, should they actually be interested in him. Dier cost Spurs just £4 million back in 2014, which would see them make at least 400% profit on the player they have nurtured at White Hart Lane in an exciting team which has excelled from last season, pushing Chelsea in the Premier League this season.

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