Former Everton defender Alan Stubbs has told the Liverpool Echo that the club gave up on signing Eric Dier two years before he joined Tottenham Hotspur.
Dier has become a regular first-team member of Mauricio Pochettino’s team at Spurs, but before he moved to White Hart Lane he had an opportunity to sign for Everton.
The now 23-year-old spent 18 months at Goodison Park on a loan deal from Sporting Lisbon in the 2011-12 season, and according to Stubbs, who was Under-21 coach at the time, the Toffees were keen to land him permanently.
It has been claimed by Stubbs that Everton were unwilling to pay a fee upwards of £1m for Dier.
While speaking to the Liverpool Echo, 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 £1m, 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.”
This season Dier has not been as effective as he has been in recent campaigns.
After joining the North London outfit in 2014 he became an integral part of the team in a defensive midfield role, but he has since been shifted about.
Victor Wanyama’s performances in the middle of the park have forced Dier to play as a central defender at times, and that is where he has struggled on occasion this season.
Nonetheless, the former Sporting man is a top talent and a fully-fledged England international at his young age.
Dier would have provided plenty to Ronald Koeman’s lineup at Everton had he stayed and progressed at Goodison Park.
Given that the Merseyside outfit could have nabbed him for around £1m proves that they missed out on a great bit of business.