Arsenal are closely monitoring Benfica centre-back, Ruben Dias, it has been reported.
The Gunners are keen to bolster their defensive ranks this summer and they are interested to secure the services of Dias, the Daily Mail has claimed.
The chinks in their backline were exposed once again during the business end of the previous campaign and they do need reinforcements this summer to challenge for major titles next season.
Their need to sign a proven central defender has accentuated after Laurent Koscielny went on a strike and refused to go to America on Thursday with the club for the pre-season games.
Koscielny’s indiscipline has emerged as another major setback for Unai Emery who is already clutching at straws trying to select a competent backline.
Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis are the only two other senior central defenders at Emery’s disposal and the former Paris Saint-Germain manager must address the situation on a priority basis.
Ruben Dias: Profile
Dias spent his youth at Benfica and with resolute and commendable performances at the back, he has cemented his place in the senior side of the Portuguese outfit.
He made 32 appearances in the Primeira Liga during the previous campaign and he managed to score 3 goals and also bagged an assist.
His defensive statistics are impressive as he mustered 1.4 tackles and 3.4 clearances per game and has also been representing the Portuguese national side regularly.
What will he offer to Arsenal?
Despite being a 22-year-old, Dias’ maturity belies his age as he is a composed player at the back. He is renowned for his ball-playing skills and is also a decisive tackler.
He boasts of a strong physique and is good in the air, which make him a valuable asset for his side during the set-pieces. Dias also has tactical awareness and showcases a lot of energy on the pitch.
While Mustafi has been prone to errors, Koscielny’s future at the Emirates Stadium is in doubt and acquiring the signature of Dias could benefit the north London outfit massively.
There is a catch!
Arsenal failed to secure a place in the Champions League for the upcoming campaign and apparently, they have a tight budget for the ongoing transfer window.
It has been claimed that the Portuguese international has a release clause of around £54million in his current contract with Benfica which expires in 2023.
Reportedly, Emery has merely £45million (apart from player sales) to invest and it obvious that he needs to be shrewd with his signings. However, Dias alone could eat up their entire transfer kitty.
Impliedly, Arsenal have to negotiate a deal of a lower initial fee and have to acquire funds from player sales as well if they want to pursue Dias in all seriousness.