Rúben Dias has said the opportunity to join Manchester City is one he “couldn’t turn down” after completing his move to the club from Benfica for a fee in the region of £62m.
The 23-year-old centre-back has signed a six-year deal with City as part of a transfer that has seen Nicolás Otamendi move to Benfica for £13.6m and which takes Pep Guardiola’s spending on defenders since he took charge of City to over £400m. It is a huge sum and the manager will be praying his latest acquisition proves a bigger success than most of those who have come before given his side’s problems at the back.
City conceded five against Leicester at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday during a truly shambolic display and have, in truth, looked vulnerable in that area since Vincent Kompany left in May 2019. Considering the sum, Dias is clearly thought by Guardiola to be the answer and the player is certainly relishing the challenge.
“To have the opportunity to join a club like Manchester City is a fantastic opportunity for me and one I couldn’t turn down,” said Dias. “Their success speaks for itself. They have been the dominant team in England over the last few years, playing an attacking brand of football which I feel suits my own game.
“It is really exciting to be part of such a talented squad and to play for a world-class manager like Pep Guardiola, who has a proven track record of developing young players like myself. I believe I can improve here, at a club whose ambitions match my own and I will give everything to be successful and win titles.”
Dias is a product of Benfica’s academy and has 19 caps for Portugal. The defender, therefore, has long-standing high-level experience and believes it will stand him in good stead as he looks to make a name for himself in England.
“In Benfica and in my national team, we play every single game to win. Obviously Benfica is in a different league and it is not as competitive, but the mentality is the same,” he said. “Now the challenge is bigger but that is what I want and where I want to be. I am expecting it [playing in the Premier League] to be the reason why I wanted to be a football player.
“To have that feeling when I am on the field, when my arms get goosebumps. That is it, that feeling, you cannot even put it into words. For me, the Premier League means all of that and tTo be able to play in the Premier League at a top club like City, it doesn’t get much bigger than that.”
Dias is City’s third signing of the current transfer window, following the arrivals of Ferran Torres and, another centre-back, Nathan Aké, taking City’s spending in the last month alone to over £127m.
“Rúben is a player we have admired for some time and we have been impressed with how he has progressed at Benfica,” said City’s sporting director, Txiki Begiristain. “He has developed into a real leader and as a defender, he has all the attributes we are looking for.
“He is strong in the air, good in one v one situations and technically, he is very good, so we are confident he can thrive in our system. He is another talented addition to the squad and someone who is only going to get better working under Pep.”