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Arsenal seemingly had chance to sign Tottenham target Ruben Dias for £35m in 2018

Arsenal

Arsenal seemingly had chance to sign Tottenham target Ruben Dias for £35m in 2018

The Gunners could have signed the Portuguese international after his breakout season.

Tottenham Hotspur are reported to be interested in Benfica defender Ruben Dias. As reported by Football.London, the Portuguese defender is highly-rated by Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho. 

He currently has an £80 million release clause but the report claims Spurs would look to get his asking price nearer to £40 million in order to do a deal. 

It would be a great piece of business for Spurs, who clearly need to strengthen at the back. Nut it would be a slap in the face for North London rivals Arsenal. 

The Gunners have previously been credited with a strong interest in Dias. Back in 2018, Arsenal scouted Dias, as reported by Correio da Manha. Then, Record reported that Benfica were ready to sell the defender in order to raise some funds. They wanted £35 million for the player, as relayed by Sport Witness. 

LISBON, PORTUGAL – JANUARY 31: Ruben Dias of SL Benfica celebrates the victory with supporters at the end of the Liga NOS match between SL Benfica and Belenenses SAD at Estadio da Luz on January 31, 2020 in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images)

It looked like a no-brainer. Arsenal needed new centre-backs with Per Mertesacker retiring and Laurent Koscielny past his best. 

 

But it was also a risk. Dias had only just forced his way into the Benfica first-team and Arsenal would be taking an expensive gamble on his acquisition. Other factors also played in. Arsene Wenger left Arsenal at the end of that season, likely meaning a change in potential targets for new manager Unai Emery. 

In the end, Arsenal signed Sokratis Papastathopulos and have struggled at centre-back since. Dias has gone on to become a regular for Benfica and is considered one of Europe’s best young central defenders. 

Arsenal let their moment pass with Dias and now Tottenham look like they might swoop. Gunners fans will hope that does not come back to haunt them.

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