Newcastle United and Barcelona are reportedly locked in a battle to sign SL Benfica’s defensive asset Alejandro Grimaldo in January.

According to Jornal de Noticias, as relayed by Sport Witness, Newcastle United have entered the race to sign Alejandro Grimaldo. The full-back has emerged as a late transfer target for Eddie Howe, although the Premier League outfit are set to face stiff competition from FC Barcelona. Grimaldo’s current contract at Benfica expires in 2023, but the player could be available for around €20 million in January.

Newcastle United have bolstered their defensive unit by securing the services of Kieran Trippier. But it appears they are now keen on upgrading their options at left-back, with Grimaldo emerging as an ideal candidate.

A product of the famed La Masia youth academy, Grimaldo has enjoyed immense success since his move from Barcelona to Benfica in 2016. He has emerged as one of the best left-backs in the Portuguese top-flight, and with 231 competitive appearances for Benfica, he is considered among the leading figures in the team.

The Spaniard’s success in Portugal has put Newcastle United on red alert, as Eddie Howe looks to find an upgrade over Paul Dummett and Matt Ritchie at left-back.

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Grimaldo fits the bill well given his vast experience at the highest level of football. His technical prowess, coupled with his attacking service upfront could combine well with Trippier, which would make Newcastle United much more lethal on the flanks.

However, the Tyneside outfit are set to face competition from Barcelona in the pursuit of the Benfica left-back. It appears the Catalan giants are keen on bringing the 26-year-old back to Catalonia, offering him the opportunity to become the long-term successor of Jordi Alba.

Barcelona, though, are at a financial disadvantage in their pursuit of Grimaldo. Having shelled out close to €50 million to bring in Ferran Torres from Manchester City, the Blaugrana would ideally prefer a cost-effective alternative. It is perhaps no wonder why Xavi is exploring other options in the market, including Nicolas Tagliafico, who is reportedly keen on joining Barcelona.

Barcelona’s financial woes paves the way for Newcastle United to snap up Grimaldo in the January transfer window. The Magpies should not have much difficulty coughing up €20 million for the defender, although it remains to be seen whether the player himself favours a move to St. James’ Park, given the club’s sporting situation.

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