Barcelona and Manchester City are reportedly set to go head to head in the pursuit of Benfica defender, who has a £87 million release clause.
According to a report from Portuguese publication Record, as relayed by the Daily Star, Barcelona and Manchester City are set to battle it out for the signing of Benfica star Ruben Dias in the summer transfer window.
Dias, a product of the Benfica academy, burst onto the first-team scenes in 2017 and has risen rapidly in stature ever since. The 22-year-old has already racked up 124 appearances for the Portuguese giants, establishing himself as a key member of the team, as well as one of the most coveted young defenders across Europe.
Manchester United were heavily linked with a move for Dias last summer. And now, Barcelona and Manchester City are set to lock horns against each other in pursuit of the Portuguese international.
Barcelona may be sitting at the top of the La Liga standings, but have been far from their best this season. There are problems at both ends of the pitch with the likes of Luis Suarez and Gerard Pique not getting younger. There is a urgent need for the Catalans to put a succession plan in place before the next season.
While age seems to be catching up with Pique, Samuel Umtiti has endured another injury-riddled campaign and could be sold this summer. Such a situation would warrant the addition of a new centre-back ahead of the next season, explaining their interest in Dias.
Manchester City, on the other hand, have struggled defensively this term, having failed to replace club legend Vincent Kompany last summer. Aymeric Laporte’s injury issues, coupled with the indifferent form of John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi has forced Pep Guardiola to use Fernandinho at the back.
Having been blown out of the Premier League title race by Liverpool, the Cityzens will be aware that reinforcements are needed in the summer, with the heart of the defence being a priority position for Guardiola & co. Dias, to that end, would be a smart investment, given his age and potential.
The 22-year-old will cost a fortune after having signed a new contract with Benfica only in November last year. According to the report, Dias has a release clause of £87 million, which his suitors will need to meet to sign him.
Should that happen, the Portuguese will become the world’s most expensive defender, eclipsing the £80 million transfer fee that Manchester United shelled out for Harry Maguire in the last summer.
Dias, based on his performances so far, looks like a star in the making. However, it remains to be seen if either of Barcelona or Manchester City are willing to trigger his release clause this summer, especially with finances likely to be affected due to the coronavirus crisis.