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Manchester City aim to beat United to signing of Benfica youngster Ruben Dias – report

Ruben Dias Manchester

The Portugal international has been earmarked as a potential solution to the defensive issues plaguing Pep Guardiola’s side so far this season in the absence of key men.

City failed to replace outgoing club legend Vincent Kompany over the summer, and their centre-back options became threadbare when Aymeric Laporte was ruled out until the new year with injury and John Stones also picked up a knock.

Midfielder Fernandinho has deputised at the back for Guardiola alongside Argentine Nicolas Otamendi recently and the Mirror believes that the Premier League champions are weighing up a mid-season move for Dias.

Shock defeats to Norwich and Wolves have left the Citizens eight points adrift of runaway leaders Liverpool and considering splashing the cash in January.

The outlet reports that sources in Portugal have claimed that City have expressed their interest in the 22-year-old.

Dias has been linked with Manchester United in the past but a bidding war is unlikely to erupt between the two rivals, as the Red Devils are said to be prioritising a move for Napoli stopper Kalidou Koulibaly.

Dias has a deal until 2024 with the Lisbon club, but his contract includes a £59 million release clause.

Benfica want to raise that to £79m as interest mounts in the youngster, who has also caught the attention of Juventus, Atletico Madrid and Lyon.

The centre-back is a product of the Portuguese club’s youth academy and has already accumulated 96 senior appearances for Benfica and 13 caps for his country.

Dias, who is represented by Jorge Mendes, has been an ever-present for the Lisbon giants this season, playing every minute of their season so far.

He was similarly reliable during the 2018/19 campaign, making 55 appearances in all competitions to help his side to the Portuguese league title.

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