Manchester City appear to have found their ideal alternative to Kalidou Koulibaly after multiple reports claimed they were close to a swap deal with Benfica.
City have been chasing Koulibaly all summer as they look for another defender. However, they have not been able to negotiate with Napoli directly, causing problems in their efforts to lower his price tag.
That has forced them to consider alternatives, with the answer potentially coming from La Liga. They have been linked with Atletico Madrid’s Jose Gimenez and either of Sevilla pair Jules Kounde and Diego Carlos.
However, they have now turned their attention to the Portuguese top flight instead. According to various claims in that country, City are close to signing Ruben Dias.
The defender was linked with City back in the winter, but talk of a potential move to the Etihad Stadium has gone quiet for a few months.
Now, it has sprung back into life, with Porto Canal and O Jogo both claiming City are on the verge of signing Dias. As part of the arrangement, Nicolas Otamendi will go the other way – marking a return to Portugal for the former Porto defender.
Fabrizio Romano backs up the claims, suggesting City’s total offer (including Otamendi) will be worth €55m. That’s the same value as their most recent bid for Kounde, which Sevilla rejected.
Benfica could be under pressure to sell, with manager Jorge Jesus telling a press conference (via Sport Witness): “If you ask me if I’d like [that he left], I wouldn’t like it. But if the financial factor is important for the club, we have to understand.”
However, the Portuguese side are yet to accept City’s offer for Dias, although the Premier League side will continue to push for his signature.
TOTTENHAM TURN ATTENTION AWAY FROM DIAS
If City manage to complete the deal, they would beat Tottenham to Dias. Jose Mourinho recently identified the 23-year-old as a defensive target, but City appear to have stolen a march on them.
In fact, Romano adds that Spurs have not bid for Dias as they are focusing on Inter’s Milan Skriniar instead.
The journalist revealed earlier this week that Tottenham were considering the Slovakian, and confirms that interest in still strong.
With Skriniar’s future at San Siro uncertain, Spurs could look to take advantage in a double Serie A raid to strengthen both ends of the pitch.