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Manchester United transfer rumour: Jose Mourinho lining up a move for Benfica's Alex Grimaldo

3.40K   //    03 Oct 2016, 16:42 IST
Alex Grimaldo
Alex Grimaldo has been impressive since joining Benfica in January

Manchester United are monitoring Benfica left-back Alex Grimaldo as a potential transfer target for January as they sent their scouts to watch the player during Benfica’s 4-0 win against Feirense on Sunday night.

United are currently facing troubles in their defence, and United’s 3-1 loss against Watford two weeks back has forced the Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho to rethink his defensive capabilities. Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo, and Daley Blind are seen struggling with their forms after sub-par performances against Watford, Feyenoord, and Stoke City. So far United have conceded seven goals in seven league games, the ratio is way more compared to the 35 goals they conceded through the last season under Louis van Gaal.

The 21-year-old player is also a target for Manchester City as manager Pep Guardiola is reportedly unconvinced by Aleksander Kolarov and Gael Clichy. Reports suggest that Guardiola along with his brother Pere watched the youngster at Lisbon last month. Further, along with United, representatives from Middlesbrough, Valencia, Osasuna, Estoril and Juventus too were present at Lisbon on Sunday, to watch the Spanish player. 

A product of the Barcelona youth academy, whom he joined at the age of 13, Grimaldo moved to Benfica in January 2016, in a deal worth €1.5m as his contract with the Catalan giants was close to expiry. The player went on to make his debut for Benfica in the same month during the match against Moreirense FC. Grimaldo’s former club Barcelona has the right to a percentage of a future sale. 

The player gained his first international cap for the Spanish U-21 team before he turned 18, playing during the second half of 1-1 friendly against Belgium. Grimaldo’s current contract with Benfica is set to expire in 2021 and it includes a release clause amounting to £51m, however, Benfica may be open to doing business for a reduced fee. 

The youngster, who can also play in more- advanced roles, has started every game for Benfica this season, with the match against Feirense bring his ninth appearance of the season. The 21-year-old has impressed with his form, consequently gaining attention from Europe’s top clubs. 

The Spanish youth gave a brief taste of his talent during the match against Feirense, helping former Fulham striker Konstantinos Mitroglou with a chance in the first half, which the latter sent narrowly wide and missed.

So far United have had a hit and miss wherein bringing players in from the Portuguese side is concerned. The Red Devils signed Christiano Ronaldo and Nani from Sporting Lisbon, while Anderson turned out to be a disappointment despite joining the Red Devils, in a deal worth £30m from Porto in 2007. 

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