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28th Sep 2020

Man City to sign Benfica’s Ruben Dias with defender moving in other direction

Simon Lloyd

City’s need for defensive reinforcements was there for all to see on Sunday afternoon

Manchester City are poised to complete the imminent signing of Portugal defender Ruben Dias from Benfica, it has been confirmed.

City’s failure to adequately replace Vincent Kompany a year ago was viewed by some as a significant factor in their failure to keep pace with Liverpool in last season’s Premier League title race and it was widely expected they would strengthen their options at centre back before the transfer window closes.

Having already completed the signing of Nathan Ake from Bournemouth, a fee of £65m has been agreed for Dias with Benfica. The 23-year-old played what appears to have been his final game for the Portuguese club on Saturday evening against Moreirense. He marked the occasion with a goal and was seen saying his farewells to teammates after the full-time whistle.

Pep Guardiola is widely reported to have wanted City to sign Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly this summer, but a deal for the 29-year-old has never appeared close despite persistent speculation. The Serie A side are said to have asked for£80m for the Senegal international, a fee which, given his age, City were reluctant to pay. Dias represents a cheaper, longer-term option. 

His departure to The Etihad was confirmed by Benfica on Sunday night. The club also announced that a separate transfer had been agreed which would see City’s Nicolas Otamendi move in the opposite direction.

The Argentina international has spent five seasons with City having joined them from Valencia. He has played in Portugal before, spending four years with Benfica’s fierce rivals Porto earlier in his career.

Although the fees for Dias and Otamendi have both been agreed, the transfers are subject to the players agreeing personal terms. This, however, is not expected to be a problem.

The announcement came a matter of hours after City were humiliated by Leicester in their first home game of the new league season. A disastrous day saw them concede three penalties to Brendan Rodgers’ men in a 5-2 defeat.