Manchester City identify Benfica star as defensive reinforcement

Ruben Dias, Benfica (Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images)
Ruben Dias, Benfica (Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images) /

Manchester City have an eye on Benfica’s Ruben Dias.

Even as Leroy Sane prepares to confirm his move to Bayern Munich, a new center back remains on top of Pep Guardiola’s list of priorities for the summer. Manchester City let club captain Vincent Kompany leave last year, as the 34-year-old announced that he would be rejoining boyhood club Anderlecht as player-manager.

Guardiola failed to replace him though, and Manchester City have struggled defensively as a result this season. A long-term injury to Aymeric Laporte has only compounded the problem, with Fernandinho and even Rodri deputizing at center back on various occasions.

While Laporte has returned from his injury following the three month hiatus of football due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s clear that City need more defensive depth if they are to challenge Liverpool for the title next season.

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Dayot Upamecano has been linked previously, and Benfica’s Ruben Dias is the latest name to be mentioned. The Portuguese international is one of the most exciting young players in his homeland, and already has 17 caps for the national side.

The 23-year-old is a leader on the pitch, and is an excellent ball winner. He is also comfortable with ball, and is used to playing in a high defensive line thanks to Benfica’s dominance in Portugal.

On paper, Dias seems like a good fit for City. Benfica are also traditionally known for selling their best players to European giants, and Guardiola should have no problems in convincing them to let their star defender leave.

Meanwhile, the Spaniard seems unconcerned by the fact that Sane is likely on his way to Germany. To be fair, City have coped well this season after he was sidelined since August thanks to a serious knee ligament injury.

Phil Foden could be given a run at left wing, with the 20-year-old scoring a goal from that position as a substitute against Arsenal.

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Left back could be another concern for the upcoming campaign, but Guardiola is hoping that Benjamin Mendy can remain sharp and retain his fitness.