Manchester City look set to bolster their defence with the signing of Portugal centre-back Ruben Dias from Benfica.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the 23-year-old and how he will fit into the City side.
Dias is a product of Benfica’s academy at Seixal and will be following a route taken in recent years by Bernardo Silva and Ederson by moving to City. He has been hugely influential for the Lisbon club since breaking into their first team and played a key role in the Portuguese title success of 2018-19. He captained the team and scored in what looks like being his final appearance against Moreirense on Saturday. He has 19 caps for Portugal and helped them win the Nations League last year.
Dias appears to fit the mould wanted by City manager Pep Guardiola. He is regarded as a complete and modern centre-back, who is both strong in defence and comfortable on the ball. This would make him ideal for City, whose desire to play out from the back is a central plank of their identity under Guardiola. At 6ft 1in, he has height on his side and his leadership qualities add to his appeal.
Signing Dias will end City’s long search for central defensive reinforcements. The matter has been pressing since former captain Vincent Kompany left the club at the end of the 2018-19 title-winning season. Due to injuries and inconsistent form, John Stones has not developed into the player City hoped and Nicolas Otamendi has not been fully trusted for some time. A bad injury to Aymeric Laporte last season highlighted City’s shortcomings in the position, with midfielder Fernandinho operating as a makeshift defender for most of the campaign. There were high hopes for 19-year-old Eric Garcia but he has expressed a desire to leave. Nathan Ake was brought in for £40million earlier in the summer but it was felt another option was still needed.
Virgil Van Dijk and Harry Maguire were both considered prime targets in recent years but City refused to match the asking prices of Southampton and Leicester respectively, and consequently saw those players move to Liverpool and Manchester United. Kalidou Koulibaly emerged as the new first choice over the summer but, again, Napoli’s valuation – said to be over £70million – proved prohibitive. Further options emerged with Sevilla’s Jules Kounde reportedly considered before focus switched to Dias.
Benfica have announced that a deal worth an initial £62million has been agreed with City, with a potential further £3.2million to follow in possible add-ons. Benfica’s willingness to take Otamendi from City as a replacement also seems to have smoothed the deal. The Portuguese club will pay £13.6million for the 32-year-old Argentinian, who has been at City for the past five years. The moves will go through once personal terms are finalised.