Benfica have confirmed they have sold Ruben Dias to Manchester City – with Nicolas Otamendi going the other way.
Central defender Dias will join City in the overall deal, which is worth £65million. He will cost City around £50m, with Otamendi joining Benfica for a fee in the region of £15m.
Pep Guardiola’s failure to replace the departing Vincent Kompany last summer was a big factor in his side falling so far off the pace in their title defence last season, with rivals Liverpool rampaging to the crown.
Otamendi and John Stones have fallen out of favour under Guardiola, who often preferred to play midfielder Fernandinho at centre-half last season, while first-choice Aymeric Laporte was injured for most of the campaign.
City had started to address their defensive problems by signing Nathan Ake from Bournemouth this summer, while they have also been linked with Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, and Jules Kounde of Sevilla.
But in 23-year-old Dias they will be signing one of the most highly-rated young centre-backs in Europe, who was a member of Portugal’s UEFA Nations League-winning team last year.
Ake scored late on in City’s defeat to Leicester on Sunday, but it was a poor defensive performance from Guardiola’s side.
After the game, Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville said: “Some of the wounds from last season are reappearing. The bugs that cost them the title.
“Certainly, you can get at this Manchester City back four a lot quicker that you could previously. They don’t seem to react in transition higher up as they did.”
Neville added: “Pep Guardiola is looking to see if he can defend his players but I am not sure he can.
“His defenders aren’t good enough, whichever way you want to look at it. He is a great coach, one of the greatest coaches of all time.
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“But one-on-one, once his defenders get in those positions, they are really poor. It is almost like in their mind they cannot get their head around the fact that someone has got goal-side of them.”
The agreement over Dias was announced in a statement from Benfica on Sunday night.
The moves for Dias and Otamendi are subject to personal terms being finalised.