Newcastle United are reportedly set to rival Barcelona in the race to sign former La Masia prospect, Alejandro Grimaldo, from SL Benfica.

According to Italian journalist Rudy Galetti, Barcelona are set to face competition from cash-rich Premier League outfit Newcastle United in the race to sign Alejandro Grimaldo from SL Benfica this summer.

Grimaldo came through the ranks at Barcelona’s La Masia academy and made close to 100 appearances for the club’s B team. However, with no clear pathway to the senior side, the 26-year-old left-back decided to leave for Benfica in 2016, where he has thrived. 

Grimaldo has been a consistent performer year in and year out for Benfica since his arrival. He has made 249 appearances for the Portuguese giants, registering a return of 19 goals and 50 assists. The Spaniard enjoyed a positive 2021/22 campaign in which he was directly involved in 15 goals in 48 appearances across all competitions.

Grimaldo’s current contract with Benfica expires next year, and the 26-year-old has decided not to sign an extension, leading to speculations over his future. Given that they could lose him for nothing in 2023, the Portuguese club could be open to selling the left-back this summer itself, alerting several clubs, including Barcelona and Newcastle United.

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Barcelona are in the market for a new left-sided full-back as they seek to sign a player who can cover for and provide competition to first-choice left-back Jordi Alba. The veteran Spanish international is entering the final phase of his career and needs to be managed carefully to ensure his longevity.

To that end, Barcelona have identified Grimaldo as one of the potential targets heading into the summer. However, they have shifted their focus towards Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso, with reports even claiming that they already have an agreement over a three-year contract with the Spaniard.

It has left the door open for Newcastle United to make a move for Grimaldo. The Magpies are on the lookout for a new left-back as Jamal Lewis will be sold this summer.

Also read: Newcastle United 2021/22 Review: A sleeping giant about to wake up?

While attempts are being made to sign Matt Targett permanently from Aston Villa, Newcastle want to add another left-back to have two quality options in the position. It has seen them get linked with Atletico Madrid’s Renan Lodi, with Grimaldo also emerging as a target. Apart from Barcelona and Newcastle, Juventus are also keen on signing Grimaldo, setting up an interesting transfer race for the summer.

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