Eric Dier and Dele Alli are besties, but that doesn’t keep Dier, like a big brother, from dispensing some advice to his buddy every now and again. Sky Sports is running quotes from Dier that talk about Dele and his recent links to a summer departure from Tottenham Hotspur.
Alli’s been linked with big-money approaches from Real Madrid and Manchester City, and although Spurs have said he’s not for sale at any price, that hasn’t stopped the speculation. Dier, meanwhile, says he’s cautioning his friend not to get caught up in the transfer speculation to the detriment of his development as a footballer.
"He's still a very young boy, I think people need to remember that. I think he's at the perfect place for that because he's got a support system around him and a manager and a group of players that will take care of him.
"You have to worry about young players sometimes in certain places if they can cope with it and will they be looked after as a 20-year-old boy and not just an asset.
"I think he's very well looked after here and hopefully he will be for a long time."
Let’s ignore for now the slight irony of 23-year old Dier calling 20-year old Dele a “very young boy” and concentrate on what Dier’s actually saying, because I think he’s absolutely right. Dele is without a doubt a huge talent and an even bigger get for a club like Tottenham. You can already tell that he’s loving his football and life in north London, and he’s at a club with a manager that has a proven record of developing talent. Spurs are nurturing him at the moment. That’s not to be underestimated.
You’d have to also think that when Dier refers to young players being “an asset” at bigger clubs, he’s probably thinking of someplace like Real Madrid. Madrid is one of the best and richest clubs in the world, which means that they don’t have to purchase players young — they can wait until they hit their peak and pay top money for them then. Would Dele Alli make the starting XI for Real Madrid as a 20 year old? Maybe, but it’s doubtful, and meanwhile he’d be sitting on the bench at Madrid instead of playing weekly at Spurs.
Deep down we all know that Spurs probably aren’t going to be able to hold on to Dele forever, but Dier is correct when he says that now would be the wrong time to make a move. Let’s hope Dele and his advisors think the same.