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Sport Ruben Dias to Man City: Is the Portugal centre-back the answer to Pep's defensive worries?

16:01  28 september  2020
16:01  28 september  2020 Source:   goal.com

Manchester City announce £64m signing of Ruben Dias on six-year deal

  Manchester City announce £64m signing of Ruben Dias on six-year deal Ruben Dias is in line to make his debut over the coming week after undergoing a medical before signing a six-year contract. Nicolas Otamendi has moved to Benfica for £13.7m as part of the deal. Dias is a no-nonsense centre half, the sort of which that Pep Guardiola hopes will offer an additional presence to a back four that shipped five goals during Sunday's capitulation against Leicester City.

Pep Guardiola will hope Ruben Dias is the answer to his defensive headache. However the jury remains out on a swathe of defensive players that City ' s defensive frailties since failing to replace talismanic center back and captain Vincent Kompany saw the club fall well behind rival Liverpool

Manchester City are set to sign Portugal defender Ruben Dias from Benfica for £65m this week. City ' s Argentina centre - back Nicolas Otamendi, 32, will go the other way for about £13.7m in a separate transfer. Manager Pep Guardiola has wanted a right-sided central defender since Vincent Kompany

a man holding a baseball glove: Ruben Dias © Getty Images Ruben Dias

Ruben Dias is the latest player Pep Guardiola is turning to in a bid to address Manchester City's defensive concerns.

Such worries were laid bare in a 5-2 demolition at home to Leicester City in the Premier League on Sunday, marking the first time a Guardiola team had conceded five times in a single game.

Nathan Ake was already brought in from Bournemouth earlier in the window but another centre-back, probably to partner Aymeric Laporte long term, was always likely to be a priority.

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The Daily Mirror suggest that Pep Guardiola’ s side are closing in on a £50m deal for Benfica defender, Ruben Dias . That move was given credence by journalist, Fabrizio Romano, who announced via his Twitter account that City ’ s Nicolas Otamendi is likely to be included as part of the deal.

Manchester City have agreed a €55m (£50.1m) fee with Benfica for the centre - back Rúben Dias , with Nicolás Otamendi heading the other way. Nicolás Otamendi will join Benfica or a fee of €15m. Dias , the Portugal international, has agreed a five-year contract with Pep Guardiola’ s side, while Otamendi

Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly and Jules Kounde of Sevilla emerged as targets but it was Benfica's Dias who Guardiola eventually plumped for, with City agreeing an initial fee of £62million and sending Nicolas Otamendi in the opposite direction.

But is Dias the right answer for Guardiola? Using Opta's league data going back to August 2019, we compare the Portugal international against Laporte, Otamendi, John Stones and Eric Garcia, as well as Koulibaly and Kounde to try to answer that question.

The case for the defence…

In terms of the basics expected for a defender, Dias – who has the most appearances in our timespan with 35 – compares pretty favourably against our selected players.

His 45 tackles is only beaten by Koulibaly's 55, and the 1.3 tackles made per 90 minutes is better than Garcia (0.8), Kounde (0.9), Laporte (1.1) and the same as Stones. Both Otamendi (1.5) and Koulibaly (2.2) score better.

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The Portuguese centre back is expected to sign for Pep Guardiola' s side and potentially allow Garcia to move to Barcelona. Portuguese defender Ruben Dias could hold the key to Eric Garcia' s return to FC Barcelona. The Benfica centre back is set to join Manchester City this week and, once that deal

Benfica value Portugal international at more than £50m; Nicolas Otamendi could join Primeira Liga club as part of deal. Sky Sports chief reporter Bryan Swanson reports that Manchester City have held discussions with Benfica over centre - back Ruben Dias , with Nicolas Otamendi potentially heading in

When it comes to interceptions, it is again Koulibaly who registers highest in direct numbers with 33, three more than Dias on 30.

Assessing the same area over 90 minutes sees Garcia (2.1), Laporte (1.6), Koulibaly (1.3) and Otamendi (1.2) all make more than Dias (0.9), while Kounde has the same and Stones is at 0.7.

Koulibaly is also the leader in blocks made (19) and blocks made per 90 (0.7) but Dias is second with 17 and 0.5 – Otamendi also scoring 0.5 in the latter measurement.

Dias has made the most clearances at 102 but when measured over the course of a game, Otamendi (3.8), Kounde (3.4) and Garcia (3.3) all rank higher than his 2.9.

More physicality needed?

There is a long-standing stereotype that the Premier League is more physical than its European counterparts.

If such an admittedly cliched notion is indeed true then Dias may have to get used to more physicality. His 88 aerial balls won is fewer only than Kounde's, but a 60 per cent aerial success rate is better only than Koulibaly (55) and Garcia (32).

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PEP GUARDIOLA is poised to finally end his search for a new centre back by landing Benfica’ s Ruben Dias . But on Friday it emerged that Dias was now the No1 target with reports in Portugal saying a deal is close. The fee is believed to be around £50million with City ’ s Nicolas Otamendi going in the

Manchester City sign Ruben Dias from Benfica for £64m as Pep Guardiola improves his defence after shipping five goals - with Nicolas Otamendi Ruben Dias will be making the move from Benfica to Man City for £64million. Nicolas Otamendi will go the opposite way for a separate fee of £13.7million.

Indeed, per 90 minutes, Kounde (3.7), Otamendi and Stones (both 3.3) each won more aerial balls than Dias (2.5).

For duel success, Dias is bang in the middle, with his 60 per cent lower than Stones (70), Kounde and Laporte (both 63) but higher than Koulibaly, Otamendi (both 57) and Garcia (42).

Encouragingly, Dias made no errors leading to goals in this period (and only one leading to a shot). The only players making a mistake that did result in a goal were Koulibaly and Otamendi (both one).

Kounde, Otamendi and Stones all made two errors that led to the opposition having a shot on goal.

Dias conceded one penalty in our time frame, as did Kounde, Koulibaly and Garcia. He gave away on average 1.1 fouls per game, with only Koulibaly (1.5) averaging more.

Capable of building from the back

Of course, to succeed as a defender under Guardiola, you must be as adept on the ball as you are off it and Dias has plenty to provide encouragement here.

In the 2019-20 season, Dias was involved in 104 open play sequences that led to a shot on goal and started 23 such passages. Only Koulibaly (120 and 30) was involved in more.

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BENFICA star Ruben Dias has reportedly been scouted by Manchester City as Pep Guardiola priorities signing a centre - back at the end of the season. This could mean bad news for John Stones, with the potential arrival of the Portuguese defender to only further fuel speculation that his future lies outside

Manchester United watched Ruben Dias play for Benfica in Zagreb this weekCredit: Getty - Contributor. And one player they are watching closely is Portugal Dias has captained Benfica to the top of the Portuguese league this seasonCredit: AFP or licensors. Though he conceded the penalty as Zagreb

Dias is comfortably the best scorer in terms of involvements in open play sequences that led to a goal with 20. Otamendi scored next highest with 12 in this metric. The Portuguese was also responsible for starting three open play sequences that led to a goal – with Stones and Garcia beginning two.

Since August 2019, Dias has a pass success rate of 89 per cent, with only Kounde's 86 coming in lower. But it is not unreasonable to expect this to improve under Guardiola with Stones, Garcia (both 94), Laporte (93) and Otamendi (92) all scoring well.

Dias will quickly learn he is in a team that will spend plenty of time in possession and his 66.3 passes per 90 minutes are likely to go up when you look at the numbers for Laporte (93.6), Garcia (84.3), Stones (82.6) and Otamendi (80.6) in this regard.

Verdict: So, we asked is Dias the solution for Guardiola's defensive concerns? Well, and excuse the unashamed fence-sitting, the numbers suggest the jury is out. Let's not forget the 23-year-old is moving to a new league, which brings its own unique challenges. But that is not to say there are not causes for optimism for City fans. His numbers for involvements in open play sequences leading to shots and goals are impressive, while his defensive stats stack up well against the others. There may need to be improvement physically but, given time, Dias can be a great addition to City's backline.

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