Arsenal opinion: Gunners should drop their interest in Ruben Dias
According to Metro, Arsenal have identified Benfica’s Portuguese international centre-back Ruben Dias as a potential alternative to club captain Laurent Koscielny, who is still unsure about his future at the Emirates.
Metro understands that Koscielny has given Unai Emery a headache by refusing to board the plane for the club’s pre-season tour to the United States, with the report claiming that the 33-year-old Frenchman is keen to leave Arsenal amidst interest from Ligue 1.
The report also claims that Dias, who was on Arsenal’s radar earlier in the summer, is back in the reckoning due to the ongoing problem involving Koscielny, although the Gunners might find it difficult to trigger his mammoth release clause of £57.6million.
However, it has been claimed that Arsenal are hopeful of negotiating a fee lower than the release clause to bring the 22-year-old centre-back to the Emirates this summer.
Arsenal have a summer budget of only £45million after missing out on Champions League qualification for the third successive season. Unai Emery finds himself under pressure to reinforce multiple areas of his squad under such financial constraints.
As per the report, Emery had his sights set on a new left-back and a winger but he might as well have to alter his stance now that Koscielny is looking set to depart.
It is a no-brainer that the Gunners need to bring in defensive reinforcements this summer after conceding 51 goals in the Premier League last season and Benfica’s Ruben Dias can certainly solve a lot of headaches for the club.
The 22-year-old’s consistently impressive displays for Benfica in the Primeira Liga have earned him plenty of plaudits and he is, indeed, one of the best emerging centre-backs in Europe at the moment.
Dias, who recently won the UEFA Nations League with Portugal, has established himself as one of the mainstays of Benfica’s backline since making his debut in the 2017-18 campaign.
The 22-year-old has accumulated a total of 85 appearances for his boyhood club in all competitions till date, whilst also representing Portugal at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia last summer.
To put things into perspective, Ruben Dias is already a defensive beast at 22 and given his obvious talent and massive potential, he will only get better with time.
With that in mind, purchasing the Portuguese centre-back should be an absolute no-brainer for the Gunners but the same cannot be said when the finances involved in the move are taken into consideration.
It is true that Arsenal would desperately have to bring in a replacement if Koscielny leaves this summer, given that Mustafi, Mavropanos and Rob Holding all had different issues to deal with last season.
Sokratis currently looks like the only defender in Arsenal’s ranks to be without any significant problems but the Gunners need to remember that central defence is not the only area that is in dire need of investment. They cannot afford to spend all their budget on bringing one player.
Apart from a centre-back and a left-back, Arsenal need to focus on bringing in replacements for the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck. They have set the ball rolling with the signing of Brazilian teenager Gabriel Martinelli but that’s hardly the solution to their ongoing crisis.
Even if Arsenal manage to pull off an audacious raid on Benfica for Dias, they would possibly end up exhausting all their money on a single player, thus leaving other areas unattended. That won’t be the smartest thing to do and Emery should understand better.
Also, it is highly unlikely that Benfica would agree to sell Dias for a fee below his release clause as they are not under any pressure to part ways with their highly-rated academy product.
The Primeira Liga champions already have a lot of cash in their bank following the sale of Joao Felix to Atletico Madrid this summer and with Dias having several years left to run on his contract, it is hard to see Benfica letting him depart on the cheap.
Not denying the fact that Arsenal would need a new centre-back to cover for Koscielny’s potential departure, the Gunners might as well look for some bargain deals in the market.
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Emery’s knowledge of the European market saw the Gunners land themselves a massive bargain with the signing of Matteo Guendouzi last summer and the Spaniard should look to do something similar this time around.
That said, Arsenal would be better of dropping their interest in Ruben Dias because the transfer doesn’t really look feasible at the moment.