Earlier this summer there were rumors that Tottenham Hotspur defensive midfielder Eric Dier was coveted by Bayern Munich, with the German giants making a swoop for him this summer. We laughed it off. But there may have been a kernel of truth in that story, and it’s evident in today’s news that Spurs are set to lock down Dier to a new five year contract that substantially rewards him for his excellent season in 2015-16.
Perhaps no player embodies more the delightful overall season that Tottenham experienced last year than Eric Dier. An English lad who learned football in Portugal, he came to Spurs two years ago as a center back and was converted into a defensive midfielder, where he absolutely excelled in Mauricio Pochettino’s high pressing and possession-based system. He not only proved to be one of the Premier League’s best defensive midfielders in his first full year in the position, he was also one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dour England performance in this summer’s European Championships. Ask an England fan who the Three Lions’ best player was this summer and more often than not they’ll tell you it was Dier.
So it’s not that he doesn’t deserve this new contract, which is reported by the Telegraph to be five years with wages at £70k/year. He does, absolutely. But with his current contract not expiring until 2020, there seemed to be no immediate rush for Spurs to lock him down again.
Unless there really was interest from another club.
It might not have been Bayern, but this new contract does suggest there are bigger clubs sniffing around Eric. His current wages are only £35k, right in Spurs’ wheelhouse in terms of your typical salary for a young starting 11 player the past few seasons. But Dier has proven himself worth more, and Tottenham appears to be moving now to keep him happy and prevent other clubs from turning his head.
Still, this does buck the recent trend of giving small incremental wage increases over a period of time. Doubling Dier’s wages is a mammoth increase and represents huge money. This is one of the dangers when you build a successful club on the backs of young talent: if they come good, eventually you have to pay them like you would stars at larger clubs with bigger wage budgets. Clearly Spurs feel like Dier is worth the cost, though the accelerated nature of this contract might suggest there’s more going on behind the scenes than what’s being reported.
Let’s be clear: this is a super positive development for Spurs any way you look at it. If he signs, Dier becomes the latest player to commit himself to Tottenham and to Mauricio Pochettino, and he’ll continue to anchor Spurs’ midfield for the foreseeable future. He’s worth every penny, and if spending more on Dier means that we curtail our transfer budget slightly, I’m okay with that too.