Manchester United have received encouragement in their pursuit of Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Eric Dier after Mauricio Pochettino refused to rule out a possible sale when asked about the interest generated in the midfielder.

The Spurs midfielder, who can also play in central defence, has been Jose Mourinho's primary midfield target this summer, but their attempts to sign him have been continually rebuffed by the north London side. The former Sporting Lisbon star, however, is said to be interested in a move to Old Trafford.

The Portuguese manager has confirmed that he is looking to sign a defensive midfielder this summer and Dier was the manager's priority target. United were ready to outlay around £60m ($78.7m) to tempt Tottenham into parting with the midfielder, but their efforts have been rebuffed forcing the Red Devils manager to focus on other targets namely Chelsea's Nemanja Matic and Bayern Munich's Renato Sanches.

It was believed that Pochettino was against the sale of Dier, but the manager's latest comments will give encouragement to United. The manager maintained that the club does not want to sell, but refused to unconditionally rule out a potential transfer which will give United hope that an improved bid could convince them to part with the 23-year-old England international.

"There are many, many rumours. I try to be honest," Pochettino said, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News. "Today he is so calm and he is our player. He is an important player for us and the idea is not to sell him."

Spurs have players have garnered interest from clubs all across Europe following their impressive showing in the Premier League last season. Apart from Dier, Harry Kane and Dele Alli have also been on the radar of other clubs this summer, while Kyle Walker has already moved to Manchester City to become the world's most expensive right-back.

Eric Dier
Eric Dier is Jose Mourinho's primary target to strengthen his midfield this summer Getty

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte labelled Kane his dream signing and even admitted that £100m will be a good price to pay to sign a striker of the Englishman's quality. While Alli has been on Barcelona's radar with reports suggesting that they have him on a shortlist of replacements for Neymar, who has been linked with a world-record move to Paris Saint Germain.

"I think it is a good thing many clubs are talking about our players. It means we have good players," the Tottenham manager added.