Ruben Dias has been a solid pillar at the City’s heart of defence.
The Portuguese centre-back has been gaining reputation since his arrival from Benfica in the summer of 2020 and has quickly established himself as one of the best defenders in the top-flight.
The Cityzen conceded only 15 goals in 24 Premier League matches thanks to the brilliant partnership of Dias and John Stones.
Arsenal legend Paul Merson believes Dias is taking the role that Van Dijk plays at Liverpool.
‘Ruben Dias is starting to get a reputation like Virgil van Dijk – players are scared to take him on,’ Merson told the Daily Star.
‘I wasn’t sure about him at first, coming in from Portugal where the league is nowhere near as strong.
‘I wondered if he was going to be good enough because they didn’t have to fight off five or six teams to sign him, did they? But wow what a signing. He has been absolutely phenomenal and he is starting to remind me of Van Dijk now.
‘Both players have the same fear factor about them. I see players looking up on a dribble and thinking: ‘Oh I can’t beat HIM…’
‘Even when City played Liverpool. Mo Salah did it. He only had to beat Dias one on one and he was away. But he didn’t fancy it.
‘City’s Achilles heel was always that they couldn’t defend. But Dias has come in, John Stones has cut out the mistakes, and suddenly they don’t let goals in.’