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City plan to hijack rivals Manchester United’s move for quality defensive target in January

Manchester City have reportedly joined the race alongside cross-town rivals Manchester United for the signature of one of Europe’s most talented young defenders.

According to Mirror Sport, Manchester City are planning to beat cross-town rivals Manchester United to the signing of one of their defensive targets.

Mirror Football understand that Pep Guardiola is set to make an approach to sign Benfica stalwart Ruben Dias in the January transfer window in a bid to bolster City’s defensive ranks.

City have paid the price for a lack of depth in central defence this season. Star centre-back’s Aymeric Laporte and John Stones are both ruled out with injury and club legend Vincent Kompany left Manchester this summer.

Guardiola has had to draft defensive midfielder Fernandinho into the heart of his defence to partner Nicolas Otamendi.

The Premier League champions’ trouble with injuries has proved costly as rivals Liverpool are running away with an eight point lead at the top of the league.

The Mirror understand that Dias is contracted until 2024, the ace has a release clause of £59million but the Portuguese giants are working to improve the ace’s contract to raise this to £79m.

ruben dias benfica

Dias in action for Benfica.

Despite the marquee signing of Harry Maguire this summer, United’s defensive problems still seem rife. The Red Devils have been caught napping at the back on too many occasions this season.

According to the Mirror’s report, City will also have to battle European giants Juventus and Atletico Madrid for Dias’ signature.

Dias already has 89 appearances to his name for Benfica’s first-team. The stalwart made over 55 appearances for Benfica’s second-team.

Dias is potentially one of the most experienced central defenders in his age bracket.

The 22-year-old’s solid performances for the Portuguese giants have allowed him to establish himself as a key member in the national team over the last year.

Dias already has 13 Portugal caps to his name. This summer the starlet was named as the Man of the Match in the UEFA Nations League final after his country defeated the Netherlands.

Keeping the likes of Memphis Depay quiet is something that Stones and Maguire couldn’t manage this summer, Dias could be a quality signing for any top European outfit.

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