Manchester United scouting Sporting Lisbon starlet... from England

Sporting Lisbon

Manchester United have been credited with interest in former Everton loanee Eric Dier.

Eric Dier is an interesting footballer, a rare breed of Englishmen who has grown into the professional ranks by coming through the youth system abroad.

Owen Hargreaves came through at Bayern Munich and ended up at Old Trafford, and Dier could be about to follow in his footsteps albeit via Sporting Lisbon.

Having moved to Portugal when he was just seven, Dier signed professionally with Sporting in 2010.

Last November he made his debut for the Portuguese club, and made an instant impression by assisting his club's goal in a 1-0 win over Braga.

Now Portuguese newspaper Record has claimed Manchester United sent scouts to Sporting to watch him at the weekend in their 2-1 win over Vitor Setubal.

They will have left impressed too, Dier provided another assist, his third in the Primera Liga in 11 appearances, and he also has one goal to his name.

Just 18, Dier has been played in a variety of positions by his club. He started this season as a right-back, before moving to centre-back, and the last three games he has played in central midfield.

The Cheltenham born teenager is one with clear talent, and surely he would jump at the chance to move to Old Trafford and follow the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo by leaving the icon's former club; for Dier is a supporter of Manchester United.

Dier actually was brought in on loan by Everton last January, with David Moyes wanting to take a close look at him, and Sporting felt it would be useful for his development.

He did not play a game for the Toffees, and Everton chose not to pursue a permanent deal for him, a decision they may come to regret given how he has grown into a regular for Sporting so quickly this season after making his debut.

Right now there is no suggestion United have made a bid or approach for him, simply that they are watching him, as they are likely doing with many talented teenage talents in European football.

But Dier could just be a bargain, and it is likely the England under-19 international will return to his homeland at some stage. If United do make a bid it may just be sooner than he ever envisioned.

Would Dier be a shrewd signing by United?

image: © goulao

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