COMMENT by Dominic Toner
Manchester United may have completed a world-record signing for Paul Pogba but Tottenham have their own midfield star in Eric Dier who can spearhead them to an against-the-odds title win.
Pogba was officially announced by United in the early hours of Tuesday for £89million and Jose Mourinho will be hoping he is the final piece of the jigsaw to help them win the league.
The French international will be under pressure to adapt quickly to the high intensity of the Premier League but Spurs already have their own settled midfielder in Dier.
The 22-year-old established himself as a crucial player in Mauricio Pochettino’s side last campaign and can be expected to kick on again at White Hart Lane this summer.
Just as Pogba’s compatriot N’Golo Kante helped underdogs Leicester to an unlikely first Premier League crown, Dier could play a similar role in Spurs’ league aspirations this season.
The Englishman joined Spurs for just £4million in 2014 – £85million less than United paid for Pogba – yet it could be Dier who has a greater impact in the nine-month campaign ahead.
Dier has made 87 appearances since his move to London, scoring six goals and supplying four assists in all competitions.
But it is not his own goal statistics that add weight to his significance. The midfielder has the lot – touch, technique, a wide passing range, strength, defensive awareness and a fierce will to win.
Dier struck up a formidable partnership with team-mate Mousa Dembele last season and missed just one Premier League fixture, as Spurs finished third in the league after rivalling Leicester for the title.
The Spurs player was one of England’s stand-out players at a disappointing Euro 2016 and his best moment came when he scored a sensational free-kick against Russia, something his club side may look to exploit this season.
Dembele and new signing £12million Wanyama look set to battle it out for a midfield place alongside Dier and the options will be needed with the welcomed distraction of Champions League football.
Dier is expected to be a mainstay in the league set-up and Spurs are already being written off by several people this season, despite their incredible performance last year.
Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has predicted that Spurs will finish sixth this season and struggle with competition from the ‘big clubs’, after marquee signings such as Pogba and John Stones joining Manchester City for a reported £47.5million.
Pochettino has taken a different approach in the transfer window and made the acute signings of Wanyama and Dutch forward Vincent Janssen, who should supplement his youthful side.
The Argentinian manager is staying loyal to his young developing side and with Dier’s range of passing and tactical awareness of the game, they have one of the best young midfielders in Europe.
In other Tottenham team news, Clive Allen predicts that the club’s new signing will make Kane an even better player.