Manchester United and Manchester City are set to receive a boost in their pursuit of Benfica’s Alex Grimaldo, as the Portuguese club have reportedly found a replacement for the player. Both the Manchester Clubs have been keeping close tabs on the 21-year-old left-back for some time now, along with Serie A giants Juventus, who are reportedly interested in the youngster.
Benfica recently completed an advance signing of Gremio left-back Marcelo Hermes on a free transfer. Hermes will be arriving at Benfica at the end of the year when his contract with Gremio runs out. The player is expected to sign a five-year deal at Benfica and will be a direct replacement for Grimaldo.
Having bagged Hermes’ signature, Benfica will now listen to the offers for Grimaldo and as such the Lisbon club are hoping for a bidding war to ensue between the Manchester clubs for the youngster, as they hold out for the biggest fee they can receive for the player.
A product of Barcelona Youth system, which he joined at the age of 13, the player made his official debut for the B-team in September 2011. Grimaldo joined Benfica in December 2015, when his contract with Barcelona was nearing the end, in a deal worth €1.5m.
A regular feature in Spanish U-21 side he made his first international appearance in February 2013 before he had turned 18.
Grimaldo is blessed with speed and is good at tackling. The young Spaniard plays with such an ease and nonchalance, that one may mistake him to be a player who has spent years playing football at the highest level.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola knows Grimaldo since his time at Barcelona and wants to reunite with the youngster at the Etihad Stadium. However, Benfica’s price tag for the player may be too high for the Spanish manager to match. On the other hand, a monetary hurdle may be insignificant for rivals Manchester United.
The Spanish player is under contract at Benfica till 2021, and his current deal includes a release clause of £51.25m. However, it is unlikely that the club will demand that much to sell the player. If earlier reports are to be believed then Lisbon club are rooting for a figure close to £38m for the player who cost them less than £1m at the first place. Nevertheless, the deal will still be a pricey one for a 21-year-old.