As reported by the Mirror, Arsenal have been told that Benfica defender Ruben Dias will cost them at least £35 million.
Per Mertesacker is set to retire from playing at the end of the season. Laurent Koscielny, the team’s long-serving defensive stalwart, turns 33 in September and has recently been riddled by injuries. While Shkodran Mustafi is a very good player and Rob Holding is maturing into a class defender, the Gunners obviously need to reinforce their defensive line this summer.
Dias has been linked with a move to the Emirates, and scouts from Arsenal have been spotted at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon. Standing 6’1” tall, quick and agile, the 20-year-old would be a smart addition to the team. Such a young player with that much potential could slowly be shaped by an able manager into a future leader of defence, and Arsenal would thus gain a quality long-term solution at the back alongside Holding.
On the other hand, spending that much money on a 20-year-old player that has seen only a season’s worth of first-team football would be extremely risky of course. His actual release clause is reportedly €60 million (£52.5 million) and the Portuguese club may even decide to hold out for that price, hoping to start a bidding war between potential suitors. Should that be the case, it’s hard to imagine Arsenal going through with the deal, and the cub would probably shift their attention elsewhere in their bid to fill the defensive part of the squad.
Naturally, the issue of Arsene Wenger, whether he’s staying or going, would need to be settled first whatever Benfica may decide to do. Whoever gets the honor of running the team next season will of course have a say in the matter.
Speaking of Wenger, the pressure on his shoulders feels somewhat lighter since Arsenal qualified for the Europa League quarterfinals, and the Gunners can now be backed at 3/1 to win the competition.