Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur

Premier League • England

Door opens for Eric Dier to leave Tottenham as top centre-back target identified

Benfica defender Morato

Benfica defender Morato

Tottenham are eyeing up a move for Benfica defender Morato after Ange Postecoglou drew up a five-player shortlist, per a report.

According to Record, Spurs have been keen on the centre-back for some time and sent scouts to watch him in the Lisbon derby where he featured at left-back.

The main stumbling block for Postecoglou’s side is that Benfica are desperate to keep hold of the 22-year-old, who is contracted until 2027.

The defender put pen to paper on a contract extension last summer and has a €100million release clause in his current agreement which could throw a spanner in Tottenham’s plans. Benfica are also reportedly unwilling to negotiate any deal in January.

It’s not the first time Benfica have had to deal with Premier League interest in the centre-back. The Portuguese club resisted offers for Morato in the summer. Fulham reportedly offered €25m whilst Nottingham Forest made a €30m bid.

The Brazilian reportedly tried to convince his current club to accept the transfer back then but he ultimately stayed in Portugal.

Benfica’s unwillingness to accept a bid in the summer – when they had ample time to find replacements – means Spurs will likely have to cough up a very strong offer to make Benfica even consider a sale.

So far this season the Brazil Under-23 international has made ten appearances and has been in the starting line-up for seven of those.

READ MORE: Chelsea now wrestling Tottenham for Serie A hidden gem whose dream can be realised for £11m

Tottenham preparing for defensive exits

Eric Dier has struggled in London this season and has fallen down the pecking order under Ange Postecoglou. As a result, an exit could very well be on the cards.

The defender has entered the final year of his contract with Tottenham and could leave for a fee in the January window, or for nothing at the end of the season.

Dier, who previously played in Portugal with Sporting CP, has regularly been tipped with a move abroad and there have even been suggestions that he could return to Lisbon.

Bayern Munich and Roma have also been tipped to take Dier elsewhere in Europe. Juventus have also reportedly added Dier to their shortlist of players. 

Juve believe Dier has the leadership skills and technical qualities to fit into Max Allegri’s set up. But the defender, who can also play in midfield, will have to be patient as it has been suggested Tottenham will not let him leave unless they have signed a replacement. 

If Spurs can get a deal for Morato over the line it could very well open the door for Dier to secure a January or summer move away from the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

DON’T MISS: Ange Postecoglou reveals two more Tottenham injuries ahead of Villa clash; chances of Bentancur starting