The blockbuster deals of 2020: Ruben Dias to Manchester City (£65m)
Ruben Dias became the third most expensive defender in Premier League history and Manchester City’s record signing when he arrived from Benfica last summer.
Not only was Dias expected to fill the hole left by Vincent Kompany, he was also tasked with fixing a defence that had conceded five in losing to Leicester City at home days earlier.
So, how has he fared?
How the deal went down
Despite bringing Nathan Ake to the Etihad at the start of the summer, Pep Guardiola remained keen on further defensive additions as the end of the transfer window neared.
Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly had been strongly linked prior to the Italian club’s sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli publicly ruling out any potential move.
City were also forced deny suggestions that they had lodged a £78 million for Jose Gimenez amid claims to the contrary from key figures at Atletico Madrid.
That left Sevilla defender Jules Kounde and Dias as Guardiola’s two preferred options, with a deal for the latter finally being struck on September 30.
City agreed to pay Benfica an initial £62m (€68m) for the defender, with a further £3m in add-ons, while Nicolas Otamendi headed in the opposite in an unrelated £13.6m agreement.
What they said: Jamie Carragher on Dias
“I look at Dias coming in and I think there’s really a lot at stake for Man City with this signing.
“I think if this signing doesn’t work and he’s not a huge success, I don’t think City can win the league. I don’t see Pep Guardiola staying at the club next season, certainly if they don’t win the league. Maybe if they win the league he might sign a new contract. But then I think it’s debatable also.
“And that is the big fear for me for Manchester City and this Pep project, there’s so much riding on this.
“This is the guy to replace Vincent Kompany, if you like. £65m, a huge figure again, but if this doesn’t work, I think it’s possibly the end of the Pep project.”
Dias to Manchester City – hit or miss?
Grade so far: A
Dias’ impact on City’s defence was almost immediate, with a new club record of six consecutive clean sheets in all competitions being set less than six weeks after his arrival.
Guardiola’s team also boast the best defensive record in the Premier League with just 13 goals conceded thus far, four fewer than the next best defenders in Tottenham Hotspur.
What’s more, as is often the case with truly great players, Dias has also helped improve those around him, most notably a revitalised John Stones.
The Englishman’s career at the Etihad looked to be over as he struggled for playing time last term, but he is back to his best this season thanks in no small part to his impressive partner.
City do not look as threatening up top as they were during previous successful campaigns under Guardiola, but that matters little thanks to their new-found defensive resolve.
Dias deserves great credit for that and looks to be another astute signing for a team that are desperate to take their Premier League crown back at the first time of asking.