Despite not signing the striker Manchester City made clear was their priority this summer, the Premier League Champions have not finished all their summer business. This morning they announced a new six-year deal for central defender Ruben Dias, keeping him in blue until 2027.
The 24 year old signed from Benfica last season and from day one became integral to Manchester City, making 50 appearances in all competitions. Despite signing a deal taking him until 2026 upon his arrival, the Blues have rewarded the defender’s fine form which saw him win the UEFA Defender of the Year award last week with a pay rise, doubling his earnings to around £8 million a year. Dias also won both the Premier League and Etihad Player of the Season award for his efforts in 2020/21.
Upon signing his new deal, Dias made clear he and City share the same ambitions for the future and spoke about how ‘playing for City has exceeded all of my expectations and it’s an absolute pleasure to be part of such an incredible squad.’
The defender also spoke about working with Guardiola and his coaching staff, noting how they’ve improved him as well Guardiola’s overall impact on City and how they play.
Txiki Begiristain, City’s Director of Football remarked how Dias is ‘everything [City] want in a central defender and so much more and he will be a big part of our drive to bring even more success to the Club over the next few years.’
The Portugal international spent last season throwing himself into defending, bringing not just quality but fresh leadership and team spirit to a backline that sorely needed it after City relinquished their title in 2019/20, partly due to the lack of a replacement for former captain Vincent Kompany. Dias was also a big help to fellow defender John Stones in rediscovering his form. Their partnership was one of the key reasons behind the record breaking 21 game winning streak that set City’s season alight from December last year. City have started the new season with a more traditional left and right footed partnership with Aymeric Laporte joining Dias in central defence. They’ve performed exceptionally together almost completely shutting out both Norwich and Arsenal, but a tough September awaits the Blues as they will face Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool all away consecutively. Some may see this horrific three game run as a benefit, and the schedule certainly eases up toward the end of 2021, however City and that includes Dias will need to be at their best and fittest to boost their hopes of retaining their Premier League crown.
The club are looking for further success this year, having only been 3 wins away from the the never-done-before Quadruple. Despite missing out on a striker and manager Pep Guardiola making it clear after the weekend’s 5-0 destruction of Arsenal that he doesn’t expect further business, missing out on key target Harry Kane and passing up the chance to buy Cristiano Ronaldo from Juventus won’t want to be a decision the Champions regret, especially as they target success in the Champions League.
City’s summer business hasn’t all been doom & gloom though, Jack Grealish has played in every game so far and has already got his first goal and assist for the club, whilst captain Fernandinho signed a new one-year extension until next summer and John Stones signed a new long term deal which by its expiry will mean he’s been at the club for a decade. Further renewals are expected for young superstar Phil Foden, goalkeeper Ederson as well as Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling, both of whom’s current deals expire in 2023. City are in the business of keeping their best players and if forced to sell, getting big money for them. That never changes.
Manchester City play their next game, away to Leicester City on September 11th.