Manchester City have stepped up their interest in Benfica defender Ruben Dias and could offer Nicolas Otamendi in a swap deal.
Pep Guardiola has been desperate to add defensive reinforcements during the summer transfer window following last season’s frailties in defence.
Nathan Ake arrived from Bournemouth but City still want to sign a new centre-back, with Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly their prime target.
However, with a move for the Senegal international stalling, Portuguese sources confirm City have started serious talks over a move for Dias.
City could offer Otamendi in a part-exchange deal for the 23-year-old though reports in Portugal suggest Benfica aren’t interested in the Argentine and would prefer a straight cash deal.
Benfica manager Jorge Jesus spoke about Dias’ future earlier today.
He said: “There are no untouchable players. I mean… there are essential players, like Messi or Ronaldo, but these are from another galaxy.
“Then there are important players like Ruben Dias. He’s one of the starters of the team, made at the Academia do Seixal and the only starter from the Portuguese international who plays at Benfica – at a team like Benfica, just having a starter in the national team means something.
“He’s a player with a lot of value and is important in that sector that, at the moment, only has three options because we have not yet signed the defender we want. He’s essential in the team. But at Benfica I was used to the best being signed, it’s nothing new. If you start with Ruben Dias… if you ask me if I’d like (that he left), I wouldn’t like it. But if the financial factor is important for the club, we have to understand. Managers must be prepared for this.”
The Blues have also lined up Sevilla defender Joules Kounde and Atletico Madrid man Jose Gimenez as alternatives to signing Koulibaly this summer.