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Man City target Portuguese starlet with £87m clause – The right addition to Guardiola’s backline?

Ruben Dias has been in sensational form for Benfica (Getty Images)
Ruben Dias has been in sensational form for Benfica (Getty Images)

Why Ruben Dias can add strength to Manchester City defence

According to Portuguese outlet Record (h/t Daily Mail), Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are eyeing a move for Benfica defender Ruben Dias.

An academy graduate, Dias has been a mainstay in the Benfica defence since his debut for the Portuguese side in the 2017-18 season. Dias’ rock-solid and consistent displays for Benfica in the last two seasons have made him one of the most coveted defenders in Europe.

Benfica defender Ruben Dias celebrates after scoring in the UEFA Europa League match against Shakhtar Donetsk at the Luz stadium in Lisbon.
Benfica defender Ruben Dias celebrates after scoring in the UEFA Europa League match against Shakhtar Donetsk at the Luz stadium in Lisbon. (Getty Images)

The Portuguese centre-back has played in all their 24 league matches this season and has an impressive 14 clean sheets to his name, that has seen Benfica climb to second place in the table. His excellent defensive capabilities have seen the side concede just 14 league goals, making them the side with the best defensive record in the league this term.

Dias’ standout displays at the back were evident last year when he helped his side win the league title overcoming domestic rivals FC Porto. The 22-year-old centre-back was one of the few first names on the team sheet, appearing in 32 of their 34 league outings. He had 13 clean sheets to his name last season.

Benfica defender Ruben Dias (left) fights for the ball with Zenit St. Petersburg's Iranian forward Sardar Azmoun during the UEFA Champions League Group G match at the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg in October last year.
Benfica defender Ruben Dias (left) fights for the ball with Zenit St. Petersburg’s Iranian forward Sardar Azmoun during the UEFA Champions League Group G match in Saint Petersburg last year. (Getty Images)

With the Portuguese defender improving himself, City are now in the hunt for the young defender, who has a long-term contract with Benfica. However, that has not stopped City from targeting the talented centre-back, whose current deal also includes an enormous £87million release clause.

What makes Dias even more special is his ability to chip in with goals despite being a centre-back. To date, he has featured 124 times for the Portuguese outfit and has scored 11 goals.

Dias a good fit at Manchester City

Pep Guardiola’s City are in need of some defensive reinforcements, with the side’s lapses in defence pushing them to second place in the league this season.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola during a Premier League game.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola during a Premier League game. (Getty Images)

Despite the departure of Vincent Kompany last summer, Guardiola opted to go with the side’s current set of defenders at the beginning of the season.

However, it seems to have affected them badly, as they are now 25 points behind leaders Liverpool. To add to their miseries, City lost reliable centre-back Aymeric Laporte early in the season to injury. The Frenchman has been sidelined for the most part of City’s campaign.

With the side clearly short of bankable players at the back, Guardiola had to rely on Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho to carry out the defensive responsibilities. Moreover, poor form and inconsistency of Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones have now forced them to look for better options. That said, City’s interest in the highly-rated Dias makes sense.

Manchester City veteran defender Nicolas Otamendi in action.
Manchester City veteran defender Nicolas Otamendi in action. (Getty Images)

Having proved his consistency as a reliable centre-back for Benfica in the past two seasons, Dias seems like a good option for City at the moment.

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Verdict

With Stones and Otamendi clearly not living up to the expectation, City seem to lack an established defender in their mix. Dias has been a reliable customer for Benfica and can still develop under Guardiola if a move happens. Moreover, he is young and could be an excellent future replacement for departed star Kompany.

Written by Siddharth

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