Eric Dier

While Chelsea are still involved or interested in big-name signings by the end of this transfer window, they’re also trying to go after younger players who’ll take some time to develop, showing a lot of interest in Eric Dier, the English defender who quite unusually has spent his entire career (youth career, that is) with Sporting in Portugal.

According to the Daily Mail, there’s a  £4.2 million release clause in his contract, and Chelsea seem quite interested in triggering it, although nothing is final yet.

Dier, born in Cheltenham to a family that includes Ted Croker, his grandfather, who was the former Secretary of the Football Association and President of Cheltenham Town and great nephew of Peter Croker, who like Ted, played for Charlton. His father, Jeremy, is a former professional tennis player.

How did Dier end up in Sporting? His mother was offered a job in Portugal during the 2004 European championship, and he was spotted by Sporting scouts, leading to his future with the club. He did spend one loan spell with Everton which didn’t amount to anything, as they used him in the reserve league only.

For Sporting, the multi-task player (can play as a centre back, fullback on the right side and a defensive midfielder) played 14 times in the league last season, scoring one goal. After a summer with the England U-20 team (Failing to make it out of the group stage in the World Cup), Dier is still waiting for his first appearance this season with Sporting.

Chelsea have already made five signings this season: Stipe Perica and Cristian Cuevas in the teenagers that-will-be-great one day category, like the 19-year old Dier, and also Andre Schurrle and Marco van Ginkel in the more established player (although both very young) category, with Mark Shwarzer signed for free to backup Petr Cech.

Image: Source