‘Best centre-back in the world’ – Mourinho raves about star he was linked with at Spurs

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Jose Mourinho
Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images

Jose Mourinho has labelled Manchester City centre-back Ruben Dias, who Tottenham passed up the chance to sign last summer, as the best centre-back in world football.

In hindsight, it is clear that Tottenham’s failure to sign a centre-back 12 months ago ended up costing the side dearly.

Spurs reportedly pursued the likes of Milan Skriniar and Antonio Rudiger but eventually decided to settle for Joe Rodon from Swansea.

Another centre-half who the North London club were rumoured to be eyeing was Dias, with Mourinho allegedly being keen on securing his compatriot’s services.

Reports indicate that Tottenham could have signed the former Benfica man for £50m at one point during last summer’s transfer window but Daniel Levy did not sanction the deal.

Dias completed a £62m move to City instead and he has certainly proven to be good value for money, winning the Football Writers’ Player of the Year Award in his first season in English football and playing a key role in the club’s title win.

Mourinho believes that the 24-year-old is now the best central defender in the world following the season he has had at the Eithad.

While discussing Portugal’s chances in this summer’s European Championship, the former Spurs boss told talkSPORT: “I think Ruben Dias is the best centre-back in the world now, maybe.

“I would say that Ruben with this step to the Premier League is getting a different knowledge and experience of competitiveness.

“I think he’s a fantastic centre-back. Lots of fantastic players in attack, Cristiano is not a kid any more. 

“I believe it is his last Euros and after being European Champion, he will try everything to succeed for the last time.”

Spurs Web Opinion 

It is really easy to look at successful transfers in hindsight and question why Spurs did not make a bigger effort. The reality is that Dias was not even City’s first-choice target, with Guardiola’s men reportedly moving on to the Portuguese following failed attempts to sign Jules Kounde and Dayot Upamecano. 

There was no guarantee that Dias would have settled into the Premier League as easy as he did. The same applies to Tottenham’s unwillingness to meet the asking price for Bruno Fernandes. Pochettino might well have preferred Giovani Lo Celso over the Portuguese midfielder back in 2019.

However, not signing any proven central defender and ending up with Rodon, was certainly a big howler from the club last summer. Irrespective of where one stands on Mourinho’s work at Spurs, the Portuguese coach might still be in the job had we pushed through a deal for Skriniar 12 months ago.

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