Arsenal and Manchester City are reportedly leading the chase for former Barcelona academy man and Benfica full-back Alejandro Grimaldo.
As per a report from Spanish publication Sport, Premier League heavyweights Arsenal and Manchester City are the front-runners to sign Benfica left-back Alejandro Grimaldo in the summer transfer window.
The 23-year-old Grimaldo came through Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy, but having failed to make the jump to the first-team, he left the La Liga champions to join Benfica in the summer of 2016. Since moving to Portugal, the left-back has become an integral part of the team, winning two league titles and a number of other domestic honours.
Grimaldo, in the 2018-19 campaign, has featured 42 times in all competitions, contributing with 7 goals and 5 assists. The Spaniard has been in incredible form of late and was named the best defender in the Portuguese league for February. His consistent, standout displays have seen him gather admirers from across Europe, with Arsenal and Manchester City now leading the queue.
Arsenal’s chase for a new left-sided full-back makes sense, considering that Nacho Monreal is 33 years old and in the final year of his contract with the club. Even if the Spaniard does pen a new deal, it is unlikely he will be able to play week in week out.
This would mean, a new competition for Sead Kolasinac on the left-side of defence is something that manager Unai Emery and the Gunners would need to consider. And with Monchi being strongly linked with the sporting director’s role at Arsenal, a deal for Grimaldo could be pushed for, given the Spaniard’s admiration for the 23-year-old.
Manchester City, on the other hand, are growing impatient with star man Benjamin Mendy’s persistent injury problems. The Frenchman has spent more time on the treatment tables than on the field for the Premier League champions since completing a high-profile switch from AS Monaco in 2017.
Oleksandr Zinchenko has stepped up nicely in Mendy’s absence while Aymeric Laporte, Fabian Delph and Danilo provide options to Pep Guardiola. But, the former Barcelona boss is looking at strengthening his squad with a natural left-back than relying on makeshift options, with La Liga sensation Junior Firpo also being linked, along with Grimaldo.
Grimaldo recently signed with sports talent agency Wasserman, who also happen to represent Premier League stars like Virgil van Dijk, Ross Barkley, N’Golo Kante and John Stones. This change of agents could be a hint that the 23-year-old is looking for a switch in the summer, with Premier League the likely destination.
The report from Sport claims that Grimaldo has been previously chased by Serie A giants Napoli, while the likes of Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan are also believed to interested in the £26 million-rated Spaniard, as per an alternate report from The Sun.
Grimaldo is contracted with Benfica till 2021, but a summer exit looks quite possible. With Arsenal and Manchester City leading the race for the talented 23-year-old, it will be interesting to see who comes out on top.