BBC pundit Jemaine Jenas has been comparing Ruben Dias to Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk on the latest episode of the Football Daily podcast.
The 23-year-old Manchester City centre-back has made an impressive start to his career at the Etihad Stadium, helping Pep Guardiola’s men establish a 14-point gap at the top of the Premier League table.
Since arriving from Portuguese giants Benfica in a £65m move over the summer, Dias has recorded 13 clean sheets in his 24 league appearances, leading to extensive praise for the defender from his manager.
Jenas was asked whether the Portugal international’s performances have had as big an impact at Man City as Van Dijk did at Liverpool, and the popular pundit was clear in his views.
He said: (36:06) “We’d have to say yes. I mean, the numbers that you’ve just said to me are, you know, are elite-level numbers. But bigger than that, I think the word impact, it’s exactly that. I think when a player like Van Dijk arrived at Liverpool; he transformed them totally into a different team. There were players that arrived before Van Dijk, and whether that was Salah, Mane, Firmino, other players that were already there, his arrival made it all happen, essentially.
“And we’ve seen, you know, within this conversation that we had earlier about this current Liverpool team. You know, what do they need? Will it be the return of Van Dijk? Will it be someone at the top end of the pitch that can have that type of impact? Well, Ruben Dias did that for Pep Guardiola and Manchester City. And yeah, I suppose the answer to your question is yes, he has had a huge impact on that football club.”
TIF Thoughts on Dias…
The impact that Dias has had upon this City team is clear for all to see. With him in the side, the Cityzens have only lost one game in all competitions and are currently enjoying a record-breaking 21-game winning run.
Van Dijk took Liverpool from being Champions League and Premier League challengers to the champions of both of those competitions, and that is what Dias must now do over the next 18 months or so to truly cement his status alongside the Dutchman.
There’s no doubting the transformative nature that Dias has had is comparable to Van Dijk’s, but the silverware that the Liverpool man managed to secure currently sets them and their impacts apart.