Manchester City will soon open negotiations with Benfica after identifying Ruben Dias as a key defensive target, according to sources close to Man City Central.
It’s clear that Napoli will not part ways with Kalidou Koulibaly unless director of football Txiki Begiristain demolishes the £80m world-record transfer fee paid for a defender set by Manchester United when they bought Harry Maguire from Leicester City.
The Cityzens have ruled Koulibaly out as a target and have now identified Dias as a priority despite already signing Nathan Ake from relegated Bournemouth and have allocated up to £65m for negotiations.
Ever since Vincent Kompany left the club, City have been suspect at the back and have been carried by their incredible attack and it was their issues at the back that caused them to lose nine games last season; six more than eventual champions Liverpool.
While City are keen on signing Dias, they are unwilling to pay anything close to what Liverpool paid for Virgil van Dijk, with the Reds initially setting a £75m record for a fee paid for a defender.
The Blues are also prepared to sell Benfica as a way of countering the cost of securing Dias’ services.
Manchester City’s rejected bid for Sevilla’s Jules Kounde will be followed by a bid of intent to sign Dias, with the Mancunians confident of signing the Portugal international.
Tottenham are also interested but if it comes down to the player, the Etihad is his preferred destination.