Benfica have announced the imminent departure of Rubén Dias to Manchester City after agreeing a fee worth €68 million for the Portugal international, in a deal that also sees Nicolas Otamendi come the other way.
As both outfits thrash out personal terms, Dias, 23, looks set to add to City’s growing Portuguese contingent, containing Seixal academy graduates Bernardo Silva and João Cancelo. Meanwhile ex-FC Porto man Otamendi readies himself for a stint with his old foes, costing the Eagles €15 million.
After days of speculation, the writing seemed to be on the wall for Dias ahead of a rumoured fresh new venture, as he captained Benfica in a final Estádio da Luz outing.
The defender, on the scoresheet in the Eagles’ 2-0 win against Moreirense, added fuel to the speculation at full-time by stating that it was a “very important game” for him and that “to mark it with a goal was very special.”
Jorge Jesus pointed towards a deal being struck, as did Pep Guardiola in the aftermath of Man City’s shock 5-2 loss at home to Leicester City, further highlighting the Citizens’ defensive frailties.
In search of backline reinforcements for the duration of the summer transfer window, City’s new pick sees Otamendi placed on the market and on the verge of returning to Portugal as part of the deal between the two clubs, returning to the nation where he became a Primeira Liga champion under André Villas-Boas and his 2011 Porto side.
The Argentina international was picked up by Valencia, led by Nuno Espírito Santo, in 2014 for €12 million and would last just a year in Spain after an impressive top-four finish with Los Che, as City came calling for his services.
Now 32, Otamendi may not be the only late arrival ahead of next week’s transfer deadline, with the Eagles continually linked with Rubén Semedo, starring for Pedro Martins and his Olympiakos outfit over the past year.
By Patrick Ribeiro