Ruben Dias to Man City: Benfica boss resigned to move, Nicolas Otamendi swap deal close

Nicolas Otamendi is "a player we'd like to have", says Benfica manager Jorge Jesus

Dias is on the verge of completing a move from Benfica from Manchester City
Image: Dias is on the verge of completing a move from Benfica to Manchester City

Ruben Dias may have played his last game for Benfica as the defender appears to be nearing a move to Manchester City, according to the Primeira Liga side's manager Jorge Jesus.

City have been in talks with Benfica over signing the centre-back and are now close to completing a deal for the 23-year-old, who is valued above £50m by the Portuguese club.

Speaking at a press conference following his side's 2-0 win against Moreirense, Jesus said: "I'm pretty sure it was his [Ruben Dias's] last game, but sometimes everything changes at the last second in football.

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"I don't think that's going to happen, though. 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."

VILA NOVA DE FAMALICAO, PORTUGAL - SEPTEMBER 18: Ruben Dias of SL Benfica reacts during the Liga NOS match between FC Famalicao and SL Benfica at Estadio Municipal 22 de Junho on September 18, 2020 in Vila Nova de Famalicao, Portugal. (Photo by Jose Manuel Alvarez/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) 0:38
Sky Sports chief reporter Bryan Swanson reports that Manchester City have held discussions with Benfica over centre-back Ruben Dias; with Nicolas Otamendi potentially heading in the opposite direction.

Dias scored a 20th-minute header in Benfica's second win in two games at the start of the Portuguese top-flight 2020/21 season on Saturday.

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He has one Primeira Liga title and a Portuguese Super Cup to his name, with the defender having excelled at the Estadio da Luz since making his debut in 2017.

The Benfica academy graduate also has 19 caps for his country - he was a part of Portugal's squad for the 2018 World Cup and helped them towards winning the 2019 Nations League on home soil.

Pep Guardiola is in the market for another central defender as a priority ahead of the transfer deadline on October 5, with the club having already made the £41m acquisition of Nathan Ake.

Dias scored Benfica's opener on Saturday in Benfica's 2-0 win against Moreirense
Image: Dias scored Benfica's opener on Saturday in Benfica's 2-0 win against Moreirense

Highly-rated Sevilla defender Jules Kounde and Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly have also been on City's radar, while the club have denied that they have made a £78m bid for Atletico Madrid centre-back Jose Gimenez.

Earlier this month, Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis claimed City were unwilling to speak to the Serie A club directly about Koulibaly after the previous breakdown of a move for Jorginho in 2018.

City struggled for options in the centre-back position last season because of long-term injuries to Aymeric Laporte and John Stones, and a faliure to recruit a replacement for Vincent Kompany.

Nicolas Otamendi has yet to feature for City this season
Image: Nicolas Otamendi has yet to feature for City this season

Meanwhile, Otamendi could depart City to join Benfica as part of the deal, and their manager Jesus believes his lack of regular gametime under Guardiola has been a factor in negotiations.

Otamendi made 24 appearances in the Premier League last term and Fernandinho and Eric Garcia were sometimes deployed at centre-half instead of the Argentina international.

The 32-year-old arrived from Valencia for £32m in 2015 and his current deal at the Etihad expires in 2022.

"Otamendi is a Manchester City defender who could be involved in the Ruben [Dias] transfer. He already showed his ability at FC Porto, he plays for Argentina and has been a regular starter most years at Manchester City.

"He has stopped starting now and if it hadn't been for that, maybe he wouldn't have been included in this possible transfer.

"Of course, he's a player we'd like to have. The player who joins us will have to be understand that my ideas are completely different from those at Manchester City."

Dias would join Ake and Ferran Torres in arriving at the Etihad during this window, while Otamendi could become the club's latest outgoing, following the exits of Angelino, David Silva and Leroy Sane.

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Summer transfer window - key dates and times

The summer transfer window closes at 11pm on Monday October 5 with a feast of activity lined up on Transfer Deadline Day on Sky Sports News and across our Sky Sports platforms.

A domestic-only window for deals between the Premier League and EFL then runs from October 5 and closes on Friday October 16 at 5pm. Follow all the news and analysis on SSN and across Sky Sports' digital platforms, including with our dedicated Transfer Centre blog.

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