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The Lille defender, who plays with the Benfica star at international level, has talked up his countryman’s chances of succeeding at Etihad Stadium

Manchester City are getting a “top, top player” in Ruben Dias, according to Jose Fonte, who says the “humble” defender is ready to challenge himself in the Premier League.

City have reached an agreement to sign Dias for an initial £62 million ($79m) from Benfica, as the Portuguese club announced on Sunday night.

Nicolas Otamendi will head to the Estadio da Luz as part of the deal, which is expected to be finalised before the summer transfer window closes on October 5.

Dias will join a City side which suffered their first defeat of the new Premier League season against Leicester at the Etihad Stadium over the weekend, with familiar defensive flaws emphatically exposed by Brendan Rodgers’ high-flying Foxes.

Nathan Ake, Eric Garcia, Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy all had an afternoon to forget in the Blues’ defence as Jamie Vardy hit a hat-trick to extend Leicester’s perfect start to the new season and leave Pep Guardiola’s side languishing down in 13th in the early Premier League standings.

It has been suggested that Dias will partner Aymeric Laporte, who has only just returned to training following a positive coronavirus test, in the heart of City’s defence once the ex-Benfica star settles into his new surroundings, and Fonte is confident he can bring much-needed steel and composure to Guardiola’s line up.

The Portugal defender, currently on the books at Lille, told talkSPORT of his international team-mate’s qualities: “Ruben is one of my favourite young centre-backs. He’s only 23, but he shows great maturity.

“He has a great work ethic. He wants to learn, he wants to improve. He observes the great defenders, he’s interested in knowing the game.

“So, for me, it’s a great acquisition for Manchester City. They’re getting a top, top player, who wants to get better and better and that’s very important.

“He’s humble. He’s very, very skilful with the ball at his feet. He has a good pass between the lines. He reads the game well, he attacks the ball well in the air. He’s strong in the duels.

“They’re getting a very good player. I have no doubt he’s ready; he’s been playing at the highest level for the last two, three years.

“He starts every game for the national team, as well. He has a young body, but an older mind.

“So I think he’s ready. He’s going to be excited to show what he’s capable of. If Manchester City need him right now, they can use him.”

Pressed on whether Dias can fill the void Vincent Kompany left in City’s squad when he departed in 2019, Fonte added: “He leads by example.

“Like I said, he is a hard-working boy, he’s always in the gym wanting to get better. He takes care of what he eats, he’s very, very talkative.

“He likes to communicate, that’s one thing I like about him. He talks a lot.

“He gives instructions, he commands from the back and that’s very important for a defender. So he’s already a leader.”

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September 28, 2020
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