Tottenham no longer need Eric Dier
Last season, Eric Dier was one of the first names on the Tottenham team sheet. His imperious play in the defensive midfield was arguably the highlight of the Spurs season. Unfortunately, a lot has changed for the English International in the course of one season.
Dier was horrific during the club’s 2-0 loss to Liverpool yesterday. He certainly had company, but he was probably the worst player on Mauricio Pochettino’s squad at Anfield. Dier’s schoolboy giveaway gifted Liverpool their second goal and his Whoscored.com player rating of 5.4 during the match sum up just how poor he was.
Unfortunately, the match against Liverpool wasn’t an aberration. Dier has struggled mightily all season. His play has been so poor, that it’s entirely possible that Spurs might be wise to move on from him this summer.
In fairness, Dier has been put in a difficult position this season. Despite his exceptional play in the defensive midfield last season, Spurs elected to purchase Victor Wanyama who, of course, plays the same position. The physical Kenyan played so well in the beginning of the season that he put Dier on the bench.
Some of Dier’s early season struggles could be attributed to fatigue. He played entirely too much football this summer for England. Many Spurs fans expected his form to bounce back when he had the opportunity to rest.
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Unfortunately, an injury to Toby Alderweireld forced Dier to provide his club cover at centre back instead. He helped Spurs stay afloat without their Belgian star, but played pretty average football at his old position.
When Alderweireld recovered, Dier had a brief opportunity to move back into the midfield. Then when the injury bug hit Jan Vertonghen he had to move back into central defense again. I say all this to illustrate the difficulty of Dier’s season.
Now there’s the other side of the coin. If Dier doesn’t substantially improve his play in one position or the other next year, he isn’t going to be of much use to Pochettino. As we discussed earlier, Wanyama has supplanted him in the double-pivot. It isn’t as if he’s going to take overtake Mousa Dembele in the starting XI either.
There is even the possibility that Harry Winks has overtaken him in Pochettino’s pecking order. The young Englishman offers Spurs something substantially different in the defensive midfield. He isn’t anywhere near the defender that Dier is, but he’s a substantially better offensive player. At best, Dier is going to be Pochettino’s third choice defensive midfielder.
He does have a better shot of regular playing time in central defense. Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen will come back as the club’s starting pair, but each will need a reliable backup. Kevin Wimmer certainly hasn’t filled that role well this year, he could easily be off this summer. If that transfer does happen, Dier could carve out a role as Pochettino’s third choice centre back.
That means Dier wouldn’t be a starter at any of his possible positions. That will make him expendable. He would have significant value as a super substitute, but Tottenham may not be able to afford that luxury next season. If another club made a bid of say, £30 million, would Spurs really be in a position to say no?
For the record I’m not in favour of Spurs selling Eric Dier this summer, but I am pointing out that it’s a more realistic possibility than many Tottenham fans believe. Any player on the Tottenham squad without a secure spot in the starting XI could certainly be had for the right price this summer.