Jose Mourinho provided Julio Cesar with the high point of his career but the former goalkeeper ranks Jorge Jesus as the best coach he played for.

Julio Cesar, who won 87 caps for Brazil between 2004 and 2014, spent seven years at Inter and was a key member of Mourinho's treble-winning side in 2009-10.

The keeper joined up with Jesus at Benfica for the 2014-15 season and won a Primeira Liga and Taca da Liga double in Lisbon.

Julio Cesar was thoroughly impressed by Jesus' tactical acumen, which he feels sets him apart from any other coach he worked under.

"I really like his work. He is a coach who really has something extra. But not to belittle others, obviously," Julio Cesar said on Caioba Game Show.

"Mourinho was the culmination of my career. It was a very successful time with him at Inter. But between Mourinho and Jesus, I prefer Jesus.

"Tactically, he is absurd. He's a guy who breathes it 24 hours a day. He has a phrase: 'Everyone plays ball; now, understand the game few understand.'

"I remember when I arrived at Benfica, in the first season, I learned a lot. Thing I would never have imagined, reaching the end of my career, at the age of 34, several titles won and a nice history in football.

"In terms of management, he is a guy who knows a lot."

Benfica head coach Jorge Jesus believes Darwin Nunez will surpass Joao Felix as the club's most expensive sale after hailing the hat-trick hero following his Europa League exploits.

Nunez opened his account for Benfica with a three-goal haul as the Portuguese powerhouse defeated Lech Poznan 4-2 in their Europa League opener on Thursday.

The 21-year-old Uruguay forward became Benfica's most expensive signing when he arrived from Almeria in a €24million deal in September.

Jesus is already bracing for Nunez's exit, tipping his transfer fee to surpass the club-record €126m Benfica received from Atletico Madrid for Joao Felix last year.

"We got it right. We must not forget that he is a kid, he is 21 years old, there is a lot about the game that he does not know yet. He will learn with me and Benfica," Jesus told SportTV.

All this decision-making ability, finishing and speed… He was Benfica's most expensive purchase, and when there is no pandemic, he will be the most expensive sale. He will be a world-class player.

"Unfortunately for me, maybe I will lose him in a short time."

Benfica's Nunez scored with all three shots on target away to Polish side Lech Poznan.

Nunez made it 2-1 for Benfica three minutes prior to half-time before netting his second of the match on the hour-mark as he completed his hat-trick in the third minute of stoppage time.

"Three goals? It means a lot to me," Nunez told SIC. "When I don't score, I try to help the team. I haven't scored for five games, but I worked for the team.

"From the first moment the team gave me confidence. They think I deserved these goals. I am very happy.

"I thought I was going to score my first goal. I didn't expect the three goals, but thankfully. Now it's time to continue working with humility. It's a difficult series now and we have to prepare ourselves in the best way."

Ruben Dias has been named in Manchester City's starting XI for the trip to Leeds United, giving the centre-back his club debut.

Dias' move to City for an initial £62million (€68m) was confirmed by Benfica last Sunday.

Nicolas Otamendi went the other way as part of the deal, and Dias – whose arrival was formalised by City two days later – comes straight into the starting XI at the first opportunity.

Dias was unavailable for the 3-0 EFL Cup win over Burnley on Wednesday, but he takes the place of Fernandinho in the line-up and partners Aymeric Laporte in what many believe will be City's long-term first-choice pairing at centre-back.

There is also a first Premier League start for winger Ferran Torres, another of City's new signings having joined for a reported initial fee of £20m (€22m) from Valencia in pre-season.

He started and scored in the win over Burnley.

This is City's first Premier League game since getting hammered 5-2 at home by Leicester City last weekend.

It sees Pep Guardiola go up against Marcelo Bielsa, one of his biggest influences as a coach.

Tottenham have confirmed the signing of Benfica forward Carlos Vinicius on a season-long loan deal.

Portuguese giants Benfica revealed earlier on Friday an agreement had been reached for the 25-year-old to join Spurs.

The Premier League club have now announced that Carlos Vinicius' switch to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has been completed.

Tottenham have paid £2.7million (€3m) to take the Brazilian on loan for the 2020-21 campaign and have an option to make the move permanent for £41m (€45m), with the initial payment included in that sum.

Jose Mourinho's latest recruit was the joint-leading scorer in the Primeira Liga last season, with 18 goals from 32 matches, and he found the back of the net 22 times in 46 games in all competitions.

He will provide back-up for prolific captain Harry Kane as Spurs go in search of domestic and Europa League glory.

"I wanted to say to everyone that together we'll taste success," Carlos Vinicius said in a short video posted on Tottenham's Twitter account.

"I'm here to join this family to share your joy and bring home silverware."

Carlos Vinicius only joined Benfica from Serie A side Napoli last year and helped the club finish as runners-up to rivals Porto in the 2019-20 Primeira Liga season.

AC Milan must navigate a tricky route through the Europa League group stage after surviving a dramatic play-off.

Stefano Pioli's team will face Celtic, a team they have frequently battled with in the Champions League, along with Sparta Prague and French club Lille in Group H.

Milan looked like being eliminated on Thursday until a last-ditch spot-kick in extra-time against Portuguese side Rio Ave gave them a 2-2 draw, and the Rossoneri went on to win 9-8 on penalties after a lengthy shoot-out.

They have been regular foes of Celtic in the Champions League, with the teams drawn to face each other in four seasons from 2004-05 to 2013-14, and Milan also lost to Lille in that competition during the 2006-07 group stage.

A 2-0 setback against the Ligue 1 side did not prevent Milan going on to become European champions in that campaign, but they are fallen giants in Italy who are slowly getting back into shape under Pioli.

Jose Mourinho's Tottenham will tackle Ludogorets, LASK and Royal Antwerp in Group J, with the Portuguese manager looking for a repeat of the Europa League triumph he achieved with Manchester United in the 2016-17 season.

Friday's draw also saw Roma handed tests against Young Boys, CFR Cluj and CSKA Sofia in Group A, while Group F will see Serie A and LaLiga collide, with Napoli and Real Sociedad drawn alongside Dutch outfit AZ and Rijeka of Croatia.

Arsenal, led by Mikel Arteta, will face Austrian side Rapid Vienna, Norwegian outfit Molde and Irish club Dundalk.

Europa League group stage draw:

Group A: Roma, Young Boys, CFR Cluj, CSKA Sofia
Group B: Arsenal, Rapid Vienna, Molde, Dundalk
Group C: Bayer Leverkusen, Slavia Prague, Hapoel Beer Sheva, Nice
Group D: Benfica, Standard Liege, Rangers, Lech Poznan
Group E: PSV, PAOK, Granada, Omonoia
Group F: Napoli, Real Sociedad, AZ, Rijeka
Group G: Braga, Leicester City, AEK, Zorya Luhansk
Group H: Celtic, Sparta Prague, AC Milan, Lille
Group I: Villarreal, Qarabag, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Sivasspor
Group J: Tottenham, Ludogorets, LASK, Royal Antwerp
Group K: CSKA Moscow, Dinamo Zagreb, Feyenoord, Wolfsberg
Group L: Gent, Red Star Belgrade, Hoffenheim, Slovan Liberec

Tottenham have found a back-up for Harry Kane as Carlos Vinicius gets another chance in a top-five European league.

Benfica announced on Thursday they had reached an agreement to loan the forward to Spurs until the end of the season.

Tottenham also have a purchase option of £41million (€45m), minus the loan amount of £2.7million (€3m) should they decide to use it.

Jose Mourinho has his back-up for one of the Premier League's best forwards in Kane.

Using Opta data, we take a look at how Carlos Vinicius fared in 2019-20.

 

A prolific Primeira Liga campaign

Carlos Vinicius enjoyed the most prolific season of his career in 2019-20, scoring 18 Primeira Liga goals and 22 in all competitions.

The forward was the equal top-scorer in Portugal's top flight as Benfica finished runners-up to rivals Porto.

Carlos Vinicius started in 19 of his 32 league appearances, and he scored at an impressive rate with a goal every 99 minutes. Albeit in the stronger Premier League, Kane – who also netted 18 times – struck every 143.8 minutes, although his tally included two penalties.

A strong left-footer, Carlos Vinicius scored all 18 of his league goals from inside the box and converted 44 per cent of his big chances, which ranked fifth in the Primeira Liga of those who had a minimum of 20.

In comparison, Kane scored 15 of his 18 Premier League goals last season from inside the box but converted 63.2 per cent of his 19 big chances. However, the England international was clinical. Only Southampton forward Danny Ings (63.6) went at a better rate in the Premier League of those who had at least 19 big chances.

Closer to Carlos Vinicius' 44 per cent in the Premier League was Raheem Sterling, the Manchester City star going at 42.4 per cent from a total of 33 big chances.

After several consistent and reliable seasons, Kane was sidelined during 2019-20 due to a hamstring injury. The forward made at least 30 league appearances in four consecutive campaigns before 2018-19.

Carlos Vinicius also created eight big chances and provided five assists last Primeira Liga season, while his goals tally could have been even greater if not for hitting the woodwork three times.

He had few opportunities in the Champions League as Benfica departed in the group stage, finishing behind RB Leipzig and Lyon in Group G.

Carlos Vinicius scored once – in a 2-2 draw at Red Bull Arena – in one of his only two big chances. He started just three times in the Champions League.

His previous stints in Europe's top five leagues – briefly with Napoli, where he did not make a competitive appearance, and Monaco – have not gone to plan.

But Mourinho has a solid back-up for Kane, and an option to make it permanent should Carlos Vinicius impress in London.

Tottenham have reached an agreement to sign forward Carlos Vinicius on loan from Benfica until the end of the season, the Portuguese giants announced on Thursday.

The initial £2.7million (€3m) loan deal for Carlos Vinicius also includes a purchase option of £41m (€45m), though the amount paid for the loan will be deducted if exercised.

Tottenham have been desperate to sign a back-up for star Harry Kane, following previous links to Napoli's Arkadiusz Milik and Torino captain Andrea Belotti.

Jose Mourinho's Spurs have now turned to Brazilian Carlos Vinicius, who only joined Benfica from Serie A side Napoli last year.

Carlos Vinicius scored 18 goals in 32 Primeira Liga appearances last season, while he netted 22 in all competitions.

The 25-year-old ended the 2019-20 Primeira Liga campaign, which Benfica finished runners-up to rivals Porto, as the joint-top scorer along with team-mate Pizzi and Rio Ave's Mehdi Taremi.

Amid uncertainty over his future, Carlos Vinicius has only seen 18 minutes of league action this season, with head coach Jorge Jesus pairing Darwin Nunez and Luca Waldschmidt up front.

Tottenham qualified for the Europa League group stage with a 7-2 rout of Maccabi Haifa in London on Thursday, while they are eighth in the Premier League and five points off the pace.

It is not the first time Tottenham have loaned a player from Benfica, after Gedson Fernandes joined Spurs on an 18-month deal in January.

Manchester United's problems in the transfer window have reportedly continued as they target Federico Chiesa and Alex Telles.

The Premier League giants have had a tough window so far, with only Donny van de Beek arriving from Ajax.

That is their only inclusion despite links to the likes of Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho and Telles, and their progress is still seemingly slow ahead of the window closing on Monday.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD'S CHIESA BID REJECTED, SNUBBED OVER TELLES

Manchester United had a loan enquiry for Fiorentina attacker Chiesa turned down, according to The Telegraph.

As they struggle to land a deal for Sancho, United have been linked with Chiesa and Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele.

Chiesa, a 22-year-old Italy international, has made a fine start to this season, scoring once and providing an assist in two Serie A games.

United seemed closer to bringing in Telles, but O Jogo reports Porto did not even respond to their first bid for the left-back – believed to be around £11.8million (€13m) – as the Portuguese giants see it as unrealistic.

 

ROUND-UP

- After Luis Suarez's arrival at Atletico Madrid, Diego Costa is linked with a move away. AS reports Paris Saint-Germain are considering a move for the forward, and it adds Atletico could look to replace him with free agent Edinson Cavani.

- Manchester City's transfer business in this window could be done. The Sun reports any plans for the Premier League side to bring in a left-back – either Bayern Munich's David Alaba or Ajax's Nicolas Tagliafico – are reliant on a late bid being received for Oleksandr Zinchenko.

- Are Bayern Munich looking for a back-up for star Robert Lewandowski? Sport Bild reports the Bundesliga champions want to sign Hoffenheim forward Andrej Kramaric. The Croatia international scored twice against Bayern in the Bundesliga on Saturday and is up to seven goals in three games in 2020-21.

- Tottenham are reportedly looking at Benfica striker Carlos Vinicius. Football.London says Spurs are hoping to loan the striker with an option to buy for £36.3m (€40m). Carlos Vinicius scored 24 goals in 47 games in all competitions last season.

- Staying at Spurs and Sky Sports reports Celtic have made an approach for Tottenham left-back Ryan Sessegnon. However, it says finances are problematic, while multiple Premier League clubs are also keeping an eye on Sessegnon.

- Andreas Pereira is set to leave Manchester United. Fabrizio Romano reports a deal between United and Lazio has been signed for a loan with option to buy for €27m (£24.5m).

Ruben Dias believes Manchester City's brand of football suits his game and is confident he can develop after signing a six-year deal with the Premier League club.

After Benfica confirmed Dias' departure on Sunday, City formalised the arrival of the Portugal defender on Tuesday, with Nicolas Otamendi going the other way.

City will hope Dias can help to solve the defensive issues that undermined their title defence last season, as they finished 18 points behind champions Liverpool.

And Dias feels the marriage of his and City's styles will allow him to succeed and live up to the billing at the Etihad Stadium.

"To have the opportunity to join a club like Manchester City is a fantastic opportunity for me and one I couldn't turn down," Dias said.

"Their success speaks for itself. They have been the dominant team in England over the last few years, playing an attacking brand of football which I feel suits my own game.

"It is really exciting to be part of such a talented squad and to play for a world-class manager like Pep Guardiola, who has a proven track record of developing young players like myself.

"I believe I can improve here, at a club whose ambitions match my own and I will give everything to be successful and win titles."

City's director of football Txiki Begiristain added: "Ruben is a player we have admired for some time and we have been impressed with how he has progressed at Benfica.

"He has developed into a real leader and as a defender, he has all the attributes we are looking for. He is strong in the air, good in one-v-one situations and technically, he is very good, so we are confident he can thrive in our system.

"He is young but has experience playing for a top European club in Benfica and we're really pleased we've been able to sign him.

"He is another talented addition to the squad and someone who is only going to get better working under Pep."

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

Pep Guardiola and defenders. It's been an expensive exercise for Manchester City.

Still trying to fill the glaring void left by long-serving captain Vincent Kompany in 2019, and reeling after a stunning 5-2 Premier League drubbing at the hands of Leicester City, Manchester City have turned to Ruben Dias.

Benfica and Portugal centre-back Dias will cost City an initial £62million (€68m), plus £2.1m (€3.6m) in add-ons should the 23-year-old trigger various performance-related clauses.

Sunday's announcement, with Nicolas Otamendi set to move in the opposite direction, takes Guardiola's spending as City manager on defenders to in excess of £410m (€451m) since 2016.

While City have won two Premier League titles under Guardiola, the team's defence remains an Achilles heel, especially in pursuit of European glory.

As City welcome Dias to Manchester, we look at Guardiola's previous defender signings while in the Citizens dugout.

 

Ruben Dias €68m (£62m)

He is Guardiola's latest big-money defensive signing. Previously linked to the likes of Manchester United and Tottenham, Dias arrives having emerged from Benfica's academy ahead of the 2017-18 season. He helped Benfica to Primeira Liga glory in 2018-19.

Joao Cancelo €65m (£59m)

The full-back position is a complex area for Guardiola, whose formation often centres on inverted full-backs and overloads. City splashed the cash on Cancelo last year but question marks remain over the 26-year-old Portugal international.

Aymeric Laporte €65m (£59m)

Of all of Guardiola's recruits in central defence, Laporte is the only one to truly convince. However, Laporte's fitness has proven a problem since being prised away from Athletic Bilbao two years ago.

Benjamin Mendy €57.5m (£52m)

A key member in Monaco's memorable run to the 2016-17 Champions League semi-finals and triumphant Ligue 1 campaign, Mendy arrived amid much fanfare in 2017. Mendy's off-field activities and his knee issues have prevented City from seeing the best of the France international left-back week in, week out.

John Stones €55.6m (£50m)

Identified as the ideal ball-playing centre-back to fit into Guardiola's system, it has not gone according to plan for Stones, who left Everton in 2016. After a promising start to life, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss appears to have lost faith in the often-injured Englishman.

Kyle Walker €52.7m (£48m)

Walker has served well under Guardiola, having joined as one of the best players in the league in 2017. Aside from a couple of dips in form and questionable off-field choices, the ex-Tottenham full-back remains important to what Pep is trying to achieve in Manchester.

Nathan Ake €45.3m (£41m)

Ake was the first defender through the door ahead of the 2020-21 season after City were dethroned by Liverpool last term. Lured away from relegated Bournemouth, the left-footed centre-back has started both of City's Premier League fixtures, scoring in the humbling defeat to Leicester.

Danilo €30m (£27m)

The Brazilian full-back is no longer a City player. Part of the deal that saw Cancelo swap Juventus for City in 2019, Danilo arrived as a LaLiga champion and two-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid. But the 29-year-old never really convinced in a City shirt.

Angelino €12m (£10.9m)

Part of City's youth team from 2013, Angelino eventually left for Dutch giants PSV five years later. After impressing in Eindhoven, City triggered their buy-back clause to re-sign the Spaniard in July 2019. Angelino made 12 appearances before being loaned out to RB Leipzig in the second half of last season. Despite interest from Barca, he is back on loan in Leipzig.

Oleksandr Zinchenko €2m (£1.8m)

The 23-year-old left-back was plucked from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2016. Following a couple of loan spells, Guardiola has often called on Zinchenko, who played 19 Premier League matches in 2019-20.

Manchester City have signed centre-back Ruben Dias from Benfica in a transfer worth an initial £62million (€68m) with Nicolas Otamendi heading the opposite way in a separate deal.

Portugal international Dias, 23, has been a regular for Primeira Liga side Benfica since emerging through the academy ahead of the 2017-18 campaign.

Dias has been linked with a number of big-name clubs around Europe, including Manchester United, but rivals City have now reached an agreement with Benfica.

The Portuguese side confirmed the news on their official website on Sunday, shortly before announcing a €15m (£13.67m) deal is in place for Otamendi, who must now undergo a medical.

City will pay an additional €3.6m (£2.1m) in add-ons for Dias should he trigger various performance-related clauses.

Dias captained Benfica in Saturday's victory over Moreirense and hugged his team-mates and sporting director Rui Costa as he left the field at full-time.

"It was a special moment [with Costa] and I think everyone already knows why," Dias said after the game. "Obviously, people leave their mark on you, and the club also.

"Without a doubt, it was very special for me. I am very happy. It was very important to consecrate this game with a goal, it was very special for me."

Dias' arrival ends City manager Pep Guardiola's search for a right-sided centre-back, 16 months after long-serving Vincent Kompany departed the Etihad Stadium for Anderlecht.

Otamendi – who played for Benfica's Portuguese rivals Porto between 2010 and 2014 – spent five years with City and started 31 games in all competitions last term.

The 32-year-old won two Premier League titles, four EFL Cup trophies, two Community Shields and the FA Cup during his time in Manchester, having arrived from Valencia in 2015.

Manchester City have signed centre-back Ruben Dias from Benfica in a transfer worth an initial £62million (€68m) with Nicolas Otamendi heading the opposite way in a separate deal.

Portugal international Dias, 23, has been a regular for Primeira Liga side Benfica since emerging through the academy ahead of the 2017-18 campaign.

Dias has been linked with a number of big-name clubs around Europe, including Manchester United, but rivals City have now reached an agreement with Benfica.

The Portuguese side confirmed the news on their official website on Sunday, shortly before announcing a €15m (£13.67m) deal is in place for Otamendi.

Ruben Dias is on the verge of leaving Benfica.

The Portugal international is wanted by Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.

Could he help City dethrone Premier League champions Liverpool?

 

TOP STORY – DIAS SET FOR CITY

Benfica defender Ruben Dias will join Manchester City, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano.

Pep Guardiola has been eyeing defensive reinforcements following Nathan Ake's arrival from Bournemouth, and now Dias is set to swap Benfica for City.

As part of the deal, veteran centre-back Nicolas Otamendi will move in the opposite direction.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca says Barcelona rejected a €150million offer for teenage sensation Ansu Fati from an unnamed club. Manchester United have been linked previously.

Sergino Dest will travel to Camp Nou to complete his move to Barca, reports RAC1. The Ajax full-back is also wanted by Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.

Milan and Roma are both interested in signing Norwich City right-back Max Aarons, says Sky Sports. The Englishman has previously been linked to Barca and Bayern.

- According to Sportitalia, West Ham are in talks with Serie A holders Juventus for defender Daniele Rugani.

- Lyon want €50million (£46m) for in-demand star Houssem Aouar amid interest from Arsenal, claims RMC Sport. Paris Saint-Germain, City and Chelsea have also been linked.

Benfica defender Ruben Dias appears set to join Manchester City after the Portuguese giants' coach Jorge Jesus confirmed Saturday's 2-0 win over Moreirense was "almost certainly" the centre-back's final outing in Portugal.

Dias, 23, came through Benfica's academy and has been a regular in the club's senior side since the 2017-18 campaign.

In that time he has reportedly been tracked by many of Europe's biggest clubs, including Manchester United, but it appears his next move will see him wear blue instead of red.

City are said to have offered €55million (£50m) and Nicolas Otamendi to Benfica for the highly rated Dias, who is also a regular at international level with Portugal.

Dias scored the opening goal in Saturday's victory and also wore the captain's armband, while he was shown sharing emotional embraces with Benfica icon Rui Costa and other members of the club's hierarchy at full-time.

Jesus then effectively confirmed Dias' exit as he spoke to the media.

"I would like to be absolutely sure, but it was almost certainly the last game he played," Jesus told reporters.

"In football you never know, sometimes everything changes in the last second, but I think that will not happen. He is a player we are sorry to see leave. He's a great player.

"But I also have some fault for the departure, this has to do with the elimination from the Champions League [qualifiers] and there are things that have to be balanced.

"He is the only player who has a high market value. He is already a good player and will be a beautiful player."

Jesus also briefly discussed the chance of Otamandi joining from City, suggesting it will not be a swift adaptation period for the former Porto man.

"Of course, Ruben has had seven weeks with me. It was not easy at first for all of them to adapt to my idea of ​​the game," he said.

"And when he [Otamendi] arrives, he will realise that my ideas are different from those of Manchester City. This is if the Manchester City player comes.

"There is also talk of Ruben Semedo. It will be weeks of adaptation."

A visibly emotional Dias savoured his moment with Costa and was thrilled to seemingly close the Benfica chapter of career in such a manner.

"It was a special moment [with Costa] and I think everyone already knows why," he said. "Obviously, people leave their mark on you, and the club also. Without a doubt, it was very special for me.

"I am very happy. It was very important to consecrate this game with a goal, it was very special for me."

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