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 By Ben Pearce

Hands off Manchester United: Tottenham to keep Eric Dier

Spurs correspondent Dan Kilpatrick explains why Tottenham are unlikely to spend big in the summer window.

With Romelu Lukaku already settling in with his new Manchester United teammates, it seems that Jose Mourinho may be turning his attention towards landing a defensive midfielder -- and Eric Dier figures prominently on his list.

After a £50 million fee was quoted earlier in the week, the latest reports suggest United may even bid £60m.

Yet Tottenham are adamant that they will not entertain any offers, and that the 23-year-old is not for sale -- which is the right stance.

Of course, £60m is a lot of money, especially for a club intending to build an £800m stadium.

But with a five-year bank financing arrangement in place, the Spurs will be playing their home games in front of significantly bigger crowds from now on -- first at Wembley and then at their new stadium.

They have also banked £148.1 million in prize money from last season, partly thanks to the Premier League's biggest ever TV deal, which is now paying dividends.

Despite being in the midst of a hugely expensive capital project, Mauricio Pochettino stated in April: "The players that we want to keep, we will keep, because [the chairman] has said to me, 'We do not need money'."

Given that assurance, there is little reason to let Dier go.

The challenge for Tottenham this summer involves improving their strongest XI and their strength in depth while also maintaining their wage structure.

Tottenham are adamant they will not entertain any offers for Eric Dier.

Some supporters may say "sell Dier for £60m and we can buy two or three top players," but Moussa Sissoko cost £30m last summer and has so far flopped.

Add the sums spent on Georges-Kevin N'Koudou and Vincent Janssen, who were also generally disappointing, and the total is roughly £60m.

Others might suggest splashing all the money on one marquee signing who could truly improve Spurs' starting XI.

Yet such a player would surely expect wages in excess of £100,000 per week, breaking Daniel Levy's carefully-managed wage structure.

If Tottenham do not need to raise funds by selling players, they must be steadfast in keeping their current crop together. After all, this is young, hungry and talented group who still have plenty of room to grow under Pochettino.

It appears the Argentinian is open to cashing in on Kyle Walker, as his use of the right-back suggests he has concerns about the 27-year-old's injury record and fitness.

But the worst thing Tottenham can do is swap valued players -- the manager's most trusted men -- for extra cash. In any case, that money is worth far less than before for buying clubs in a market where Gylfi Sigurdsson is apparently being valued at £50m by Swansea.

The theory is that every player has a price. But what would be an acceptable offer for Harry Kane? Should Tottenham sell the Premier League's golden boot-winner for £100m? What about Toby Alderweireld? Or Christian Eriksen? What are they worth?

The answer is that all three are probably priceless; it would be virtually impossible for Spurs to replace them adequately, especially with their current wage limits.

Dier may not be quite as important as that trio, but he should nonetheless be placed in the same category: simply not for sale.

Versatile and intelligent, he was able to transition from centre-back to England's first-choice holding midfielder in a matter of months, and he is key to Spurs' tactical flexibility during matches. He started 29 of the final 30 games in all competitions last season.

At just 23, he still has great potential, and is gaining European and international experience all the time.

Dier is much more than just a deputy for Victor Wanyama, but he has great value even in that role. As Spurs have discovered many times before -- including last summer -- reliable understudies are hard to find.

It would be entirely understandable if Dier wants more opportunities to play in central midfield, and the prospect of joining United and earning more money is undoubtedly enticing. But there have been no signs so far that he intends to cause problems.

If Mourinho and United -- who have recruited the likes of Paul Pogba and Lukaku at great expense -- feel Dier is the missing piece of their jigsaw, that should only underscore what an impressive and desirable player Tottenham have in their ranks.

It is just another reason to keep him, not sell him.

Spurs could make a huge profit by selling Dier (who cost just £4m) for £50m or £60m, and that might look like good business in a sense.

But the question must always be: Will such a move benefit the squad, both in the short-term and long-term?

There would certainly be no guarantee of that. Moreover, there is every chance Tottenham would end up weaker after the money was reinvested, making them rue giving away a proven player like Dier. It is not a chance they need to, or should, take.

Ben is ESPN FC's Tottenham blogger. Follow on Twitter: @BenPearceSpurs.


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