Tottenham Hotspur lead the Premier League after matchday one.
It may be very early days but the north Londoners are certainly enjoying a renaissance under the ruthless stewardship of Antonio Conte, who last clinched the Premier League title with Chelsea back in 2017.
That’s who Spurs will be facing at the weekend and arguably, for the first time in a long time, they are the favourites to come out on top.
After two seasons outside of the top four, the Lilywhites finally earned their place back in the Champions League, thanks to the Italian head coach turning things around following his arrival back in November last year.
They pipped arch-rivals Arsenal to a fourth-place finish.
A lot of that success has come down to their attack, with Harry Kane back among the goals and winter signing Dejan Kulusevski proving to be a game-changer in attack, providing more assists than anyone else in the English top-flight since February.
“Kulusevski, I think, watch him. I think he’s De Bruyne-esque if you like, and he’s 22 years old,” claimed Graeme Souness to talkSPORT (via the Evening Standard).
But it’s another one of Spurs’ stars who scored in the 4-1 mauling of Southampton on the opening day that has been something of an unsung hero under Conte.
At one point, the Englishman’s future at the club looked in grave danger. That was largely down to him not finding a comfortable position in a regular role, having often been deployed as a defensive midfielder in his early days by Mauricio Pochettino.
The best example of his complete and utter transformation is seen by Tottenham’s defensive numbers.
During the 2020/21 campaign, Dier made 28 league appearances, in which he was part of the winning side 12 times but only kept eight clean sheets. Meanwhile, last season, the 6 foot 2 colossus was part of 16 clean sheets across 35 appearances, winning 21 matches.
13 of those were under Conte.
“He’s working very hard and in this moment he’s one of the best defenders in the league,” Conte claimed back in March. “He has also big space to improve his performance and his quality and to become a stronger and stronger player.”
Dier cost Spurs just £4m from Spoting Lisbon back in 2014 and now, over eight years on, he’s valued at £25.2m by Transfermarkt, which is an increase of 530%, meaning Spurs, and chairman Daniel Levy, have certainly struck gold with his transfer.