Another one that got away…
Ruben Dias wasted no time in endearing himself to the Manchester City fanbase but he could have been lining out for Manchester United if not for concerns about his experience.
United reportedly identified Dias as a potential target during Jose Mourinho’s time in charge of the Red Devils, with the club eager to bolster the team’s defence.
According to Manchester Evening News, Mourinho personally shortlisted his fellow Portuguese ahead of the summer transfer window in 2018. Mourinho’s shortlist also included the likes of Harry Maguire, Milan Skriniar, Kalidou Koulibaly, Diego Godin, Nikola Milenkovi and Jerome Boateng.
The report states that United ignored almost all of Mourinho’s targets and the club failed to bring in any new centre-halves that summer, after signing Victor Lindelof the previous year.
Why Manchester United dismissed Ruben Dias
It’s claimed that United’s recruitment department dismissed Dias as an option because of his lack of experience. He was 21 at the time of United’s interest but had already emerged as a top prospect for Benfica.
While Mourinho’s recommendation fell on deaf ears, Dias continued developing in Portugal before he was signed by United’s local rivals Man City last September for a reported fee of €68 million.
The defender, now 24, has arguably already justified his price tag with his performances for Pep Guardiola’s side this term.
City regained the Premier League title last week and Dias’ impact on City was rewarded with the honour of the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year for the campaign after countless plaudits throughout.
“It’s a huge privilege, I’m very, very happy,” Dias said of the award.
“I could not have done it without the success of the team, without everyone in the team deserving this award. Only by that, as a defender, am I able to be here to receive this prize.
“Essentially, when I came I wanted to meet everyone as fast as possible, understand how the team plays. I knew the manager and the players, I knew a bit about the philosophy of the club because I am fan of football and I know City from the last few years.
“I had an idea of what I was coming to and I wanted to integrate myself as fast as possible.”