Manchester United have reportedly identified Portuguese starlet Ruben Dias as an alternative for Harry Maguire, but have had a bid rejected for the defender.

As per a report from Portuguese publication O Jogo, as carried by Sport Witness, Manchester United have locked in on Benfica centre-back Ruben Dias as a potential alternative for primary transfer target Harry Maguire, but have seen an offer rejected for the 22-year-old from the Portuguese giants.

Manchester United have been chasing the signature of Maguire from Leicester City all summer as manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seeks defensive reinforcements after a disastrous last season. However, their pursuit of the England international hasn’t yielded the desired result as of yet.

Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers has confirmed that there have been two bids for Maguire, which have fallen below their valuation of the player. And while Manchester United remain optimistic on getting a deal over the line, they seem to be putting a contingency plan in place should the move fall through, with Ruben Dias emerging as an alternative.

The 22-year-old, a product of the Benfica youth academy, has established himself as one of the best young defenders across Europe since breaking into the first-team two years ago. Dias, till date, has racked up 85 appearances for Benfica, scoring 8 goals and setting up 3 more, while also becoming a regular in the Portuguese national team.

Back on Manchester United's radar (Photo by CARLOS COSTA/AFP/Getty Images)

Back on Manchester United’s radar (Photo by CARLOS COSTA/AFP/Getty Images)

Dias had been linked with a move to Manchester United earlier this year, but the rumours died down pretty quickly. However, with the Maguire pursuit not being resolved as of yet, the 20-time English champions have seemingly rekindled their interest in the 10-time capped Portuguese international.

To that end, Manchester United made an opening offer for Dias, which was quickly knocked down by Benfica with manager Luis Felipe Vieira keen on holding onto his prized asset. The report does not mention the amount that the Red Devils offered for the 22-year-old, but it adds that the value was well below the defender’s €66 million release clause.

Along with Manchester United, there have been offers for Dias from fellow Premier League outfit Wolverhampton Wanderers as well, which also have been knocked back, leading to them signing Real Madrid’s Jesus Vallejo.

Benfica are intent on holding on their academy product and are negotiating with him over a new contract. They are hoping to increase the 22-year-old’s release clause to €88 million in order to make the most out of the sale, should they fail to convince him to stay at the club.

Dias signed a contract with Benfica last year, extending his stay till 2023. He would be a viable alternative for Maguire for Manchester United. However, with latest reports claiming that the Englishman is closing in on a move to Old Trafford after missing training with Leicester on Monday, a deal for Dias is likely to take a backseat.

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