Manchester City look to Ruben Dias to fix defensive issues after agreeing €68m fee with Benfica

Argentine centre-back Otamendi heading the other way in a separate €15m transfer

Benfica's Ruben Dias, center, heads the ball to score the opening goal during the Portuguese League soccer match between Benfica and Moreirense at the Luz stadium in Lisbon, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)
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Manchester City are turning to Benfica's Ruben Dias to help solve their defensive problems after the Portuguese club confirmed an agreement had been reached with the Premier League side for his transfer.

Dias will move to City for €68 million (Dh290m) plus add-ons, with Argentine defender Nicolas Otamendi going the other way in a separate transfer for €15m, Benfica said.

Benfica confirmed the transfers in a statement on Sunday but said the players would still need to sign their respective contracts.

Dias, 23, made 137 appearances during a four-year spell with the Portuguese club, winning the league title in 2018-19. He has appeared 19 times for Portugal and was part of the side that lifted the Uefa Nations League trophy last year.

His arrival will help shore up a leaky City defence, which shipped five goals to Leicester City on Sunday.

Dias captained and scored for Benfica in their 2-0 win over Moreinense on Saturday, and manager Jorge Jesus admitted it was likely to be the defender's final contribution to his boyhood club.

"I'm pretty sure it was his last game, but sometimes everything changes at the last second in football. I don't think that's going to happen, though," Jesus said.

"He's a player we're sorry to see go, he came through the academy, is our captain and plays for the national team. I also take some of the blame for him leaving today.

"This is also to do with getting knocked out of the Champions League and there are things that need to be balanced (financially) at management level. He has a high market value and is certainly already a fantastic player who will continue to improve."


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Dias will be City's fifth signing of the summer, following the arrivals of Pablo Moreno, Ferran Torres, Nathan Ake and Scott Carson.

Otamendi, 32, won two Premier League titles and an FA Cup with City and leaves after five seasons.

Improving City's backline has been a priority for manager Pep Guardiola, who saw his side struggle last season during the long-term injury absence of Aymeric Laporte and following the departure of captain Vincent Kompany.

Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly was thought to be Guardiola's top target but the Serie A club's valuation of the Senegal captain has proved too high, while City have denied claims a bid of £78m (Dh366m) bid was made for Jose Gimenez after the Atletico Madrid president said an approach had been rejected.