It is a really hot summer in the UK as the transfer sagas continue. As we have learned, Eric Dier is open to the prospect of a move to Manchester United and the club are pushing hard to make it happen, despite the Tottenham Hotspur chairman, Daniel Levy, having categorically ruled it out.
Ed Woodward, the United executive vice-chairman, spoke with Levy at the start of the close season and registered their interest in Dier, who sees himself as a defensive midfielder, although he played in Tottenham’s defence for most of last season.
It is understood Woodward made a bid for the England player – on the instructions of José Mourinho – but Levy knocked it back. Furthermore, Levy made it plain he was not interested in selling Dier and United ought to take this as his final word on the matter.
United, who have announced that Michael Carrick will take over as the captain after Wayne Rooney’s departure, have refused to do so, particularly after their efforts to look elsewhere for the defensive midfielder Mourinho has demanded encountered problems.
They thought they were close to a deal for Nemanja Matic but their hijacking of Chelsea’s move for Romelu Lukaku has soured relations and made the Matic transfer difficult to complete. Lukaku joined United from Everton on Monday for a fee that could rise to £90m.
Dier, who admitted in 2010 while at Sporting Lisbon that it would be difficult to turn down United if the chance came to join the club he supported as a boy, has been Mourinho’s No1 midfield target this summer and Levy may face a dilemma when United’s offer is broken down. They are considering making a second offer of £50m for the 23-year-old and would more than double his £70,000 weekly wage, taking it beyond Tottenham’s £100,000 ceiling.
If Levy were to block Dier’s transfer, what would he do about his salary? It would be impossible to come close to matching United’s offer without breaking Spurs’ wage structure and Levy will not do this for fear of encouraging other players to ask for large rises.
Dier, who is under contract until 2021, was displaced as Tottenham’s first-choice defensive midfielder by Victor Wanyama, who was signed from Southampton in June last year. Dier played mostly in central defence as part of a back four or back three but wants to secure one position – defensive midfield. He knows Mourinho would play him in his favoured role.
Tottenham are prepared to sell one player from their first-choice XI – Kyle Walker, the right-back who is a target for Manchester City, but negotiations have become protracted as Levy believes he is in a powerful position, which is always bad news for the potential buyer.
Levy wants at least £50m and feels it is fair in terms of the market. The 27-year-old was the best right-back in the Premier League last season, according to the Professional Footballers’ Association, who named him in their team of the year. Walker is entering his prime years; he is tried and tested in English football and his Englishness adds a further premium. City, meanwhile, look to have missed out on another right-back target, with Dani Alves likely to join Paris Saint-Germain.
Mauricio Pochettino could replace Walker, who has four years to run on his contract, with Kieran Trippier and the Spurs manager could use the fee from the sale to strengthen his squad. Pochettino would be less willing to cash in on selling Dier.