Dier straits at Spurs may lead to Eric's exit

LONDON • Chelsea and Bayern Munich are among several leading clubs monitoring Eric Dier's situation at Tottenham Hotspur in case he seeks to leave White Hart Lane.

The England midfielder is unhappy at the amount of game time that he has been given by Mauricio Pochettino this season and is concerned that it could hamper his international prospects under Gareth Southgate, the new Three Lions manager.

Dier was viewed by Southgate as England's best player in last June's European Championship and is seen as integral to the side he wishes to build, which will also feature John Stones, Dele Alli and Harry Kane. However, his development has been hindered by limited playing time at Tottenham this season.

The 22-year-old started Tottenham's first six matches of the campaign in central midfield, but after suffering a muscle strain in September, he failed to regain his place and has since been used as a centre back to cover for the injured Toby Alderweireld.

Dier was dropped for the second time this season as Alderweireld returned from injury for last Sunday's 1-0 defeat by Manchester United, leaving him fearful over his future.

Southgate wants to develop a central-midfield partnership featuring Dier and Jordan Henderson, but that will be difficult if Dier is not playing regularly for Tottenham. He is facing competition from the likes of Jack Wilshere and Danny Drinkwater.

Dier signed a new five-year deal at White Hart Lane in September and is unlikely to force a move next month, but may consider his options in the summer if his situation does not improve.

An approach from Bayern was swiftly rejected by Spurs and the player last summer and the German club may try again. Premier League rivals Chelsea are also monitoring the situation as Antonio Conte seeks to bolster his midfield with versatile players who are also capable of operating in a back three.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 15, 2016, with the headline 'Dier straits at Spurs may lead to Eric's exit'. Print Edition | Subscribe