By Matt Farr
Alan Stubbs has revealed that Everton were priced out of a deal to sign Tottenham defender Eric Dier.
The 23-year-old spent one-and-a-half seasons on loan at Goodison Park from Sporting Lisbon several years ago, and Stubbs admitted that Everton had wanted to sign him on a permanent basis.
However, speaking to the Liverpool Echo, the former Everton coach revealed that the club were reluctant to meet Sporting’s £1million asking-price.
Dier eventually returned to the Portuguese side ahead of the 2012-13 season, where he made his breakthrough into the first-team setup.
He made 31 appearances across two seasons with the club before he returned to England and the Premier League, joining Tottenham for a reported £4million in August 2014.
Speaking about Everton’s failed move for Dier, Stubbs said: “We wanted to sign Eric, and at one point, thought we were going to get him.
“It took us the best part of eight months to get him up to speed but you could see his game coming on 10-fold and that was when we decided we wanted to sign him and we were in negotiations to do it but, at the time, it was going upwards of £1million, which wasn’t where Everton were at the time.
“Now they wouldn’t blink at two, three or four million for him, so for Eric at that time it would’ve been a case of right place, wrong time.”
The England international ultimately struggled to adapt to life with Everton during his loan spell, appearing ten times for the U18 side during his initial six month deal. Everton then chose to extend his stay for another season.
However, his time at White Hart Lane has proven to be much more fruitful, establishing himself as a key player in the first-team setup.
He is also a regular senior England international, having registered 15 caps and scoring two goals. He represented England at the European Championships last summer, scoring a goal in the 1-1 group-stage draw with Russia.