You Can See Why Man City Would Want Portuguese Star Ruben Dias

Anyone looking at the Manchester City squad at the start of the season could’ve pointed to the potential weak area within their ranks.

It’s been the same for the past few seasons now and it’s in central defence.

Whenever captain Vincent Kompany was injured the City backline always looked that bit weaker and became more prone to conceding. At key points during the Pep Guardiola era, Kompany would return from injury and shore up the back four at the Etihad.

So when Kompany left City to become player boss at Anderlecht this summer, eyebrows were indeed raised as City didn’t replace him during the summer transfer window.

Now I should say that the City defence isn’t terrible by any stretch.

Both John Stones and, in particular, Aymeric Laporte have progressed well in recent years. The Frenchman is now one of the best centre-halves in the Premier League.

In Nicolas Otamendi they also have an experienced centre-back that will enjoy more good games than bad. Unfortunately the Argentine still makes mistakes that can cost his team, as seen in City’s recent domestic losses to Norwich City and Wolves.

A big problem for Man City has been keeping Stones and Laporte fit.

England international Stones has only made two league appearances this season due to a knee injury. While Laporte is now sidelined until the start of next year after damaging his knee against Brighton & Hove Albion.

It’s hoped that John Stones will be ready for City’s clash away to Crystal Palace at the weekend but that doesn’t paper over the fact that Guardiola doesn’t have enough cover at centre-half.

In the last few weeks, defensive central midfielder Fernandinho had to step in and partner Otamendi at the back. The experienced Brazilian is smart enough to do that role on occasion but he can’t be seen as a longterm solution.

As I’ve already said the defence have already cost The Citizens this term and they’re now trailing current league leaders Liverpool by eight points.

If the Premier League champs want to secure their third title in a row then they’ll probably need to reinforce their backline in January.

The Manchester Evening News have reported that City, alongside rivals Manchester United, are pursuing Benfica central defender Ruben Dias.

A quick look at the player will show you why Manchester City would be interested in the defender.

Ruben was an ever present in As Águias team that won the Portuguese league title last season. City’s star goalkeeper Ederson also developed that winning mentality at Benfica and he’s fitted seamlessly into Pep’s side.

His performances at club level won him a call-up into the Portuguese national side, he’s now won 14 caps and helped Portugal win the Nations League final in the summer.

Dias possesses a tall and physical frame. Giving him a solid presence in the heart of the defensive line.

Another big plus he has, that will have caught Guardiola’s eye, is that he’s comfortable on the ball. While he’ll usually go for the short pass into midfield, Ruben does have good vision and he can slip a pass into the final third that can unnerve opposition defences. This term, Dias is up at 88% for his passing success rate.

The twenty-two year old is also fairly strong in the air. This season has seen him average at 2.3 for aerials won at Benfica (Stats via Whoscored). He’s also decent at winning headers in the opposition penalty area during set-pieces.

Ruben isn’t a defender that likes to dive in and make lots of tackles, which is a trait Pep likes in his defenders. A criticism of Otamendi is that he does jump in and sometimes he mistimes these challenges. Dias prefers to remain alert and intercept, then make clearances on that back to that.

So Ruben Dias is a young centre-back that has already proved himself as a winner at a top level. He’s a good passer of the ball and he is smart at making challenges rather than tackles.

He’s also a very confident and ambitious player:

“I define myself by my ambition, my will to win. I am a very communicative player, confident in my tactical and technical abilities. I want to reach the top, and ambition is very important in reaching that goal,”

Ruben Dias Via

He does seem the blueprint for a Manchester City/Pep Guardiola centre-back.

In the earlier Manchester Evening News article it noted that the belief is that the defender has a minimum release clause of ‘£59m’. That could represent really good value if Dias is the man that can shore up that City defence!

Leave a Reply