Arsenal have reignited their interest in Benfica defender Ruben Dias.
Arsenal’s need for a new central defender has intensified after captain Laurent Koscielny went on strike and refused to board the plane for the club’s tour of America.
Dias was among the defenders the Gunners considered a move for at the start of the window and they compiled a dossier on the 22 year old Portugal international.
Arsenal have revived their interest in Portuguese central defender Ruben Diaz
The verdict then was that a deal to sign Dias would be too costly. He has a release clause of around £54m in his current contract which expires in 2023.
However, having scoured the market they are set to turn back to Dias in their pursuit of central defensive reinforcements this summer.
Laurent Koscielny’s recent decision not to join pre-season tour has left Arsenal making plans
Paying Dias’s release clause would wipe out Arsenal’s entire transfer budget, before player sales, for this summer.
They would instead try to negotiate a deal with Benfica made up of a lower initial fee and future add-ons.
Koscielny’s refusal to travel to the US on Thursday for Arsenal’s four-game tour rocked the club and has handed manager Unai Emery a major headache.
He is now facing disciplinary action from the club after Arsenal opened proceedings against the 33 year-old Frenchman.
Paying Dias’s (right) release clause would wipe out Arsenal’s entire transfer budget
Koscielny is one of just three senior centre-backs in Emery’s squad and one of the others, Shkodran Mustafi, Arsenal are keen to move on.
Dias has made almost 100 appearances for Benfica and won 11 Portugal caps since making his international debut last summer.
He was part of Portugal’s World Cup squad last year and helped his country win the Nations League in June, playing in both games against Switzerland and Holland.